Publishe Date: 4:25 PM - 3/17/2014 | Print

Zarif, Ashton to meet ahead of Iran-P5+1 talks

Politics - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton ahead of a new round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The Iranian foreign minister is to meet Ashton at a dinner banquet in Vienna on the eve of the new round of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, Russia, Britain, France and the United States -- plus Germany.

Iran and the P5+1 group are set to start their talks, which are part of efforts to reach a final agreement to fully resolve the decade-old Western dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy program, in Vienna, on Tuesday. The negotiations are slated to last until Wednesday.

Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, led by Zarif, will leave Tehran for Vienna later on Monday.

The morning session of the talks is said to be presided over by Zarif and Ashton and will then continue at deputy level.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi will represent Iran in the deputy-level talks, while the EU foreign policy chief Helga Schmid will head the P5+1 in the negotiations.

According to Zarif, Iran and the six powers will discuss uranium “enrichment and Arak heavy-water” reactor in the coming round of talks.

The Iranian foreign minister said on Sunday that the talks will focus on “ways to build confidence and not the principle of Iran’s nuclear program.”

“Iran’s nuclear program is a reality and this reality will not change,” he said.

Zarif also said that Tehran does not expect to reach a permanent and comprehensive deal with six world powers in the upcoming round of nuclear talks.

Iran and the six world powers are working to hammer out a comprehensive deal following the Geneva interim accord struck last November.
 

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