Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a quick press conference soon after the talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) were concluded in Vienna on Thursday, calling the discussions "a good start."
"We have had three very productive days during which we have identified all of the issues we need to address in reaching a comprehensive and final agreement," said Ashton. "There is a lot to do. It won't be easy but we have made a good start."
"In addition to our political discussions, we have started the technical work," she said. "And we have set a timetable of meetings initially over the next four months with a framework to continue our deliberations."
The Iranian foreign minister also announced that he and Ashon have agreed to meet once a month by June to discuss the issues related to the talks between Tehran and the world powers.
“We agreed to hold several meetings at the level of Ms. Ashton and me every four weeks by (the Iranian month of) Khordad (May-June) and have working meetings between our experts on different issues which are on the agenda,” Zarif said.
Zarif reiterated that Tehran and the world powers didn’t discuss military and scientific issues in their talks, and underlined that Iran will not dismantle any of its nuclear installations.
“We are focused merely on the nuclear issues and the negotiations don’t include defensive and scientific issues and everyone has accepted that Iran’s defensive capability is no the subject for the negotiations,” Zarif said.
“We won’t close any (nuclear) site and have announced that no one should prescribe anything or dictate a solution to the Iranian nation; the way to ensure the peaceful nature of our program is not closing the sites, rather its peaceful nature should be displayed openly, transparently and based on the international regulations and supervision,” he added.
Iran and the G5+1 ended their third and last day of talks headed by Zarif and Ashton on Thursday.
The two sides agreed to hold a new round of talks in Vienna on March 17-20.
Zarif ‘s talks with Ashton were focused on finding a lasting solution to the nuclear standoff between the two sides after hectic diplomatic efforts in Geneva in November resulted in an interim agreement.
On November 24, Iran and the world powers, including the US, 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.
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