Publishe Date: 9:04 PM - 9/24/2013 | Print

Spokeswoman: No Meeting on Agenda between Top Iranian, US Officials

Politics - Tehran said no bilateral meetings have been planned between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his American counterpart Barack Obama or the two sides' foreign ministers, adding that recent reports in this regard are just media speculations

"No such meeting is on agenda," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Tuesday when asked by reporters about media reports on the possibility of a meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

Yet, she said Zarif and Kerry will both be present in the Thursday meeting between the Iranian top diplomat and his counterparts in the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

Asked about the media reports on the possibility of a meeting between President Rouhani and President Obama in New York, Afkham said "These are just media speculations. No such plan has been set."

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday that Zarif will join the Group 5+1 later this week to discuss Tehran's nuclear program,.

"Zarif will join the meeting of G5+1 later this week to discuss Iran's nuclear program," Ashton told reporters after meeting Zarif ahead of this week's UN General Assembly session in New York.

"We talked about a number of important issues that focused on the nuclear issue," said Ashton, adding, "We had a good and constructive discussion."

The Iranian foreign minister is in New York to take part in the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, which will open on September 24.

On Monday, Zarif underlined that his upcoming meetings with the representatives of the world powers, including his meeting with Ashton, herald the start of interactions, adding that a thorough settlement of issues and problems between the two sides needs continued interaction throughout time.

"The field of foreign policy needs sobriety, patience, wisdom and well-assessed and targeted measures and the pile of problems cannot be expected to be resolved by one or some meetings," Zarif wrote in his Facebook page yesterday.

"To reach successful and sustainable solutions, the two sides should be ready for constructive interactions based on equal footing," he added.

On Saturday, an informed source revealed the structure of Iran’s new team of negotiators in the talks with the world powers.

The source told FNA that Zarif and two of his deputies will take part in the talks with the Group 5+1.

“Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi and Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi will be present in Iran's new nuclear (negotiation) team,” an informed source at the Iranian foreign ministry told FNA on the condition of anonymity.

The same source told FNA on Sunday that Iran's former Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Eshaq Al-e-Habib and Foreign Ministry Director-General for the Economic and Specialized International Affairs Hamid Ba'eedinejad will also join Zarif and his two deputies in the talks with the Group 5+1.

The source added that two representatives from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) will also be present in the new Iranian team of negotiators.

"The new team of negotiators will have a spokesperson as well," he mentioned.

The US, Israel and some of their allies claim that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with Washington and the European Union using the unfounded allegation as a pretext to impose sanctions on Iran.

Tehran strongly rejects the groundless claim over its nuclear activities, maintaining that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

 

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