Iran’s Zarif, EU’s Ashton kick off 3rd day of talks

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton have kicked off the third day of talks over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

Zarif, who is Iran’s highest-ranking representative at the talks, and Ashton, who is leading the teams from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, held their fourth meeting in three days in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday.

Iran and the six world powers – the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany – began their latest round of talks on Wednesday.

The two sides are working to hammer out an interim deal to pave the ground for final resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

On Thursday, Ashton’s chief spokesperson Michael Mann described the ongoing talks between the two sides as very “substantial and detailed.”

“It was not your classic bilateral [meeting]. It was a real, meaningful, detailed, substantial negotiation, trying to drill down into the details of the text, trying to narrow the differences that still existed after the last round,” he added.

The Iranian team echoed the remarks, saying discussions have already delved into content and details. However, they added that differences remain between the two sides.

During the last round of talks in Geneva in early November, a first-step agreement was within reach but the position taken by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in favor of the Israeli regime and a lack of commitment by US Secretary of State John Kerry spoiled the negotiations.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is a member of the Iranian negotiating delegation, said Thursday that Tehran’s right to uranium enrichment is not negotiable.

He, however, added that the extent, level and location of enrichment can be negotiated.

By Press TV


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