The first day of renewed talks over Iran’s nuclear program, between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers in Geneva, yielded little information on Wednesday.
However, participants on both sides put out general statements of hope, with one Iranian diplomat praising the return to a “positive” mood.
Speaking to Iran’s Press TV late Wednesday, the spokesman for the 5+1 Powers, Michael Mann, said, “Things have moved forward a lot” after the “considerable progress” in the previous round of talks in Geneva two weeks ago.
Mann said the lead negotiator for the 5+1 Powers, the European Union’s Catherine Ashton, “wants to find as soon as possible a sustainable and robust deal with Iran that is really verifiable and reassures the international community about the purely peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program”.
Press TV’s coverage of Mann’s official breifing to the media:
Ashton met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in the introductory meeting on Wednesday before a plenary session and then bilateral meetings.
In Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry was upbeat, “We have the best chance we’ve had in a decade, we believe, to halt progress and roll back Iran’s program.”
At the same time, Kerry tried to reassure domestic critics of any deal, saying the US “will not allow this agreement, should it be reached — and I say should it be reached — to buy time” for any Iranian military use of the nuclear program or to fall short of “our core fundamental concerns”.
Chatter, fed by some Western officials, is circulating in Geneva that Kerry and other Foreign Ministers from the 5+1 Powers will join talks by Friday.
All the Foreign Ministers, except for China’s, suddenly went to Geneva two weeks ago as negotiations surged towards an interim deal. They were checked on the final day by French objections to the agreement.
Supreme Leader’s Office Puts Out “Israel Is Rabid Dog” Poster
This may not be the best way to encourage talks in Geneva — the Supreme Leader’s office, expanding on a phrase in Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech on Wednesday, has disseminated this poster via Twitter:
Lead Iran Negotiator: Talks “Hopeful” But Hurdle is “Lack of Trust”
Iran’s lead negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, has opened Thursday with a briefing of the press. He said Wednesday’s discussions offered hope but indicated there was still some way to go for agreement.
Araqchi said that, if this morning’s talks between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the 5+1 Powers’ Catherine Ashton went well, then discussions could begin on the draft text of an interim agreement.
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