Deputy FM: No plan for Ashton’s visit to Iran yet

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi confirmed that Tehran has invited EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton for a visit, but said no date has yet been specified for her trip.

“The invitation is not new, but is true,” Araqchi told FNA on Sunday, dismissing media reports saying that Ashton plans to visit Iran in the next few weeks.

Referring to his Thursday and Friday meeting with Ashton’s Deputy Helga Schmidt in Geneva, he said, “During the trip and in a meeting with Ms. Schmidt, I renewed the invitation to Ms. Ashton, but there is yet no decision for the trip.”

Araqchi also yesterday said his meetings with Schmidt were held in a “serious” atmosphere and the two sides reached an agreement on the date for starting implementation of the Geneva deal.

“The negotiations were held in an atmosphere of understanding and were highly serious,” Araqchi told FNA on Saturday.

He noted that Iran and the world powers have not yet reached an agreement on their remaining differences, and said some solutions were proposed by the two sides which need to be decided by the capitals.

“Everything depends on the final decision of the capitals and we hope that it (the results) will be announced within the next one or two days,” Araqchi said.

Asked if any date has been agreed by him and Schmidt to start implementation of the Geneva agreement, he said, “The proposed date for the implementation of the first step of the Geneva agreement was agreed but its announcement depends on the capitals’ agreement with the proposed solutions.”

“If the solutions are agreed upon, the proposed date will be finalized and declared,” Araqchi underlined.

On November 24, Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program. In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and continue talks with the country to settle all problems between the two sides.

Iran and the six world powers ended a third round of expert-level talks in Geneva, Switzerland, early January in a bid to devise mechanisms to implement the interim nuclear deal struck in November.

The foreign ministry officials in Tehran announced last Friday that the timeline for the implementation of the November nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers would be set after the meeting between senior Iranian and EU negotiators.

“The exact date for the implementation of the Geneva agreement will be after an upcoming meeting between Schmidt and Araqchi,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator in talks with the world powers Majid Takht Ravanchi said at the time.

In relevant remarks on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the country’s commitment to its undertakings based on the Geneva deal, and said Tehran is serious about implementing the Joint Plan of Action.

“We are much serious about continuing the path based on the Joint Plan of Action agreed by the ministers (of Iran and the Group 5+1) in Geneva and we believe that progress and entering the next difficult stage, or in other words negotiation and reaching a comprehensive solution, is completely possible through the other side’s commitment to the Geneva agreement,” Zarif said on his Facebook status on Wednesday.

“The nuclear negotiations are underway seriously and with strong political will; the expert delegations of Iran and the G5+1 have had tens of hours of intensive negotiations and reached positive results,” he added.

By Fars News Agency


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