Publishe Date: 8:07 PM - 12/29/2013 | Print

Leader's Aide: Iran Ready to Hold Separate Talks with G5+1 Members

Politics - A senior aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader said Tehran is ready to hold separate talks with the members of the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) if it can help accelerated settlement of its nuclear standoff with the West.

“Talks can be held separately (with every members of the G5+1),” Velayati told reporters in Tehran today.

“Yet, the talks can also be held collectively and within the framework of the G5+1 to produce proper results,” he added.

Iran and the six world powers have always had bilateral meetings over the nuclear standoff, but only on the sidelines of the multilateral talks, hence bearing marginal importance since decisions have been made in the seven-sided negotiations.

After the Supreme Leader issued the needed permission for the Iranian negotiators' bilateral talks with the US to accelerate settlement of the standoff, the Iranian team has also had such meetings with the US envoys as well, but these talks have all been confined to the nuclear issue and Iran has on various occassions stressed that bilateral relations and rapprochement have never been a topic in such meetings.

Earlier this month, Iran denied media reports claiming that Tehran and Washington are holding secret talks parallel to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers.

“There are no secret talks underway between Iran and the US,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said in her weekly press conference in Tehran.

“The nuclear issue was discussed during the negotiations and within the framework of the talks with the Group 5+1,” she added.

Western media claimed recently that the United States and Iran have been secretly engaged in a series of high-level, face-to-face talks over the past year that paved the way for the historic deal reached between Tehran and the six powers in Geneva.

In relevant remarks in November, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif categorically dismissed a media report by French-language daily Le Figaro claiming on November 21 that Iranian and US diplomats had held secret talks in recent weeks on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and ways to boost Tehran-Washington trade ties after signing a possible agreement between Iran and the six powers.

“It is a sheer lie and we have had no negotiations with the US except on the nuclear issue,” Zarif said at the time.

On Geneva 24, Iran and the G5+1reached a final deal after days of hard work and intensive negotiations.

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