Baku, Azerbaijan, March 17
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will leave Tehran for Vienna on March 17 to meet with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, ahead of a new round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1, Iran's Mehr news agency reported on March 17.
The second round of nuclear talks on a comprehensive deal is scheduled to start in Vienna on March 18 and will continue until March 19.
Under an interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group (five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) which took effect on Jan 20, the six major powers agreed to give Iran access to its $4.2 billion in revenues blocked overseas if the country fulfills the deal's terms which offer sanctions relief in exchange for steps on curbing the Iranian nuclear program.
The two sides held meetings in Vienna in February to work out a comprehensive deal.
Iran and P5+1 intend to continue their talks to reach a final agreement to fully resolve the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy program.
Commenting on the second round of nuclear talks, the Iranian foreign minister said that he does not expect that an agreement to come out of this round of negotiations.
"The negotiations are to become more accurate, detailed and difficult as talks proceed," Zarif said.
The agenda of talks includes uranium enrichment, the Arak heavy water reactor as well as international nuclear cooperation with Iran within the framework of NPT and lifting sanctions against Iran, he added.
The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical research instead.