Iran negotiators leave Tehran to for talks in Switzerland

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran’s nuclear negotiators have left Tehran for talks with US and European representatives on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program in the Swiss cities of Geneva and Montreux.

The Iranian delegation, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi left Iran for Switzerland early on Monday.

Araqchi and Takht-e-Ravanchi will head for Montreux where they are scheduled to sit down with European Union’s deputy foreign policy chief Helga Schmid and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.

According to reports, the Iranian foreign mister will have a short stay in  Geneva to address the UN Human Rights Council and hold talks with foreign ministers of the Netherlands and Russia, Bert Koenders and Sergey Lavrov, respectively, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein.

Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz are also participating in this round of talks on a request by Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Zarif and Kerry will join t he nuclear negotiators in Geneva on Monday afternoon and the nuclear talks will continue on Thursday when representatives from all members of P5+1 will participate in the talks.

Iran and the P5+1 countries – Britain, France, China, Russia, the United States and Germany- are making attempts to narrow their differences on the outstanding issues related to Tehran’s nuclear program.

In an attempt to bridge their differences ahead of a key July 1 deadline for reaching a comprehensive deal, representatives from Iran and the United States held three rounds of talks in Geneva on February 22 and 23.

Speaking at the end of the Geneva talks, Zarif said the parties involved in the negotiations succeeded in making “some progress” on certain issues “but we have a long way ahead to reach a final agreement.”