Publishe Date: 2:43 PM - 3/15/2014 | Print

Iranian N. Negotiator Pleased with Outcomes of Moscow, Beijing's Tour

Politics - A senior member of the Iranian team of nuclear negotiators voiced satisfaction with the results of his recent trip to Russia and China, and said during the visit, he had informed the two powers of Tehran's final stances in the upcoming talks with the six major world powers in Vienna on March 17.

Seyed Abbas Araqchi, who is also the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs, underlined that his visit to Russia and China was aimed at coordination of stances on the brink of upcoming talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

"These talks were within the framework of the previous constant consultations which were necessary before the next round of talks," Araqchi said.

The deputy foreign minister voiced his satisfaction with the trend of the talks, and said, "We exchanged views on issues to be discussed in the Vienna talks, including uranium enrichment, removal of concerns of some sides pertaining to Arak heavy water reactor and nuclear cooperation."

Araqchi underlined that other issues should not influence the nuclear discussions.

Iran and the six world powers ended three days of experts talks in Vienna earlier this month.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors session underway is Vienna.

Experts of the seven nations discussed Iran's uranium enrichment, removal of sanctions and technical nuclear cooperation in their meeting.

Also this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the six world powers to comply with their undertakings under the November deal signed by the seven states in Geneva, stressing that the time has now arrived for the Group 5+1 to hold their end of the bargain.

Zarif reminded in a post tweeted on his page at the time that the next round of talks with the Sextet which would herald the start of negotiations between Tehran and the world powers on a comprehensive and everlasting nuclear deal, would start in one week.

"We have shown determination and political will," Zarif said about Tehran's course of action during his tenure, and added that it is now "time for the other side to hold their end of the bargain".

He further demanded the US-led West to come to realize that "Iran will only accept a solution that respects its dignity and rights", promising that if the opposite sides adhere to this reality, then the negotiations "can lead to a final nuclear deal before this summer".

On November 24, Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members 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 the latter's nuclear energy program.

In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of the world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and impose no nuclear-related sanctions on Iran during the six-month period.

Iran and the six world powers had an expert meeting in Vienna, Austria, on December 9. The negotiations were scheduled to continue until December 13, but the Iranian negotiators cut short the talks and returned home in protest at the US breach of the Geneva agreement by blacklisting a dozen companies and individuals for evading Washington’s sanctions.

After that US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to soothe Tehran’s anger over Washington’s fresh sanctions in a phone call to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. Then, the experts meetings continued and yielded results. The two sides agreed on January 20 as the date for starting implementation of the interim nuclear deal.

Eventually on January 20, a confidential report by the IAEA said that Iran has halted its 20-percent enrichment activity under the Geneva deal. Hours later the US and the EU removed part of their sanctions against Tehran.

Late in February, the UN nuclear watchdog agency, IAEA, announced that Iran is complying with its obligations under the Geneva nuclear deal.

In its new report, the IAEA said 20-percent uranium enrichment “is no longer taking place” by Iran as agreed in an agreement with the six world powers.

It confirmed that no additional uranium enrichment centrifuges have been installed at Iran’s Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities. The report added that Iran has also provided the IAEA with an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the facility in Arak.

“The measures implemented by Iran and the further commitments it has undertaken represent a positive step forward,” the IAEA report said.

The February report of the IAEA came as Iran and the G5+1 held three days of talks headed by Zarif and Ashton from February 18-20.

Zarif's talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton focused on finding a lasting solution to the nuclear standoff between the two sides. Both the top diplomats voiced satisfaction in their negotiations, and announced that they would start a fresh round of talks in Vienna on March 17 to achieve a comprehensive and permanent deal.

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