Zarif, Ashton to hold informal meeting in Istanbul

Photo: Zarif, Ashton to hold informal meeting in Istanbul  / Iran

Baku, Azerbaijan, May 26

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton will hold an informal meeting before the next round of talks scheduled for June 16-20.

Heading the country's nuclear negotiation team Zarif will leave Tehran to Turkey, Istanbul on May 26 to participate the two-day meeting, Iran's ISNA news agency reported citing an Iranian diplomatic source.

The two sides will talk on comprehensive nuclear agreement during the meeting.

Other members of the P5+1 will not attend the meeting.

Iran and the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the U.S., China, Russia, France and the UK - plus Germany) wrapped up their latest round of high-level nuclear talks in the Austrian capital Vienna on May 16 without any result.

Iranian officials blamed the US for the failure, claiming that Washington has made excessive demands beyond the agreements made in the previous rounds of the talks.

After the unsuccessful negotiations in Vienna the two sides decided to hold an extra-ordinary meeting before the June 16 talks.

Tehran and the six countries have been discussing ways to iron out differences and start drafting a final deal on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

In November 2013, the two sides signed an interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva that came into force on January 20.

The deal (the Joint Plan of Action) stipulates that over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of all the sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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.

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