Progress in talks but differences remain: Iran

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Abbas Araqchi speaks to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 21, 2013.

An Iranian nuclear negotiator says Tehran and six major world powers have made progress in preparing a draft agreement on the dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program, but still remain divided on certain points.

“We have made progress on a joint document, but made no headway with regard to divisive issues,” said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for International and Legal Affairs Abbas Araqchi.

Ministerial delegations from most of Iran’s negotiating partners are ready to travel to Geneva immediately if “progress is made and we draw close to an understanding, but this has not yet happened,” Araqchi further told reporters on Thursday.

“We are working on the text. We have a shared understanding on most of its provisions, which from this standpoint is progress; but we remain divided over a few points on which we have made no progress since this morning,” Araqchi said.

He once again emphasized Iran’s entitlement to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, and reiterated Tehran would not accept any deal which does not include the right.

Iran and six major world powers – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany – kicked off a fresh round of talks on Tehran’s civilian nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday and started their third day of negotiations earlier on Friday.

The Iranian delegation is headed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif while EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton leads the group of six countries.

Araqchi further highlighted that differences exist among the six powers and said, “Lady Ashton has a difficult task coordinating the six countries as they have quite different positions … but it is not important to us what these differences are because we are not negotiating with countries; we are negotiating with Lady Ashton.”

“If the opposite side shows flexibility, it is possible to reach a deal,” the Iranian negotiator pointed out.

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 the country’s nuclear energy program.

On Thursday, Zarif and Ashton held two bilateral meetings. The two also met on Wednesday.

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.

By Press TV


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