Trying to restart negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 Powers for a comprehensive nuclear agreement, high-level US and Iranian official begin talks in Geneva on Thursday.
The US State Department confirmed on Wednesday that the American delegation will be led by Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and chief negotiator Wendy Sherman. The Iranian team is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi.
The talks will be chaired by European Union foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, who met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday.
The two sides also met last month, discussing the resumption of Iran-5+1 negotiations that were adjourned on July 18.
However, a week after that meeting, the Supreme Leader gave a high-profile speech declaring the dishonesty of the US Government, and he has continued that rhetorical assault on “useless” discussions with Washington. The process has also been complicated by new American sanctions on Tehran and by signs of trouble in Iran’s relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Today’s meeting follows bilateral discussions between Iranian officials, including Zarif, with other 5+1 members such as Russia and France.
As part of the diplomatic offensive, Zarif promoted the expansion of ties with the European Union after a meeting in Rome with Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who will soon replace Ashton as the EU foreign policy chief.
“I think we have common ground both in terms of opportunities… as well as cooperation in order to address common challenges,” said Zarif.
The Foreign Mnister called for “greater cooperation, greater economic development, [and] cooperation in the area of human rights”.
And another Deputy Foreign Minister, Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, said that it will be possible to reach a final deal before a November 24 deadline if the 5+1 Powers show “goodwill” and adopt a “constructive approach”.
Takht-e-Ravanchi, part of Iran’s negotiating team, made the remarks after a meeting with the Czech Republic Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek in Prague.
By EA WorldView
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