Iran, P5+1 hold nuclear talks in Geneva

Iran Materials 7 November 2013 15:37 (UTC +04:00)
By: Saeed Isayev, Umid Niayesh - Trend: A new round of talks on Iran's disputed nuclear programme has kicked off in Geneva on Nov. 7.
Iran, P5+1 hold nuclear talks in Geneva

Details added. First version published on 14:20

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 7

By: Saeed Isayev, Umid Niayesh - Trend: A new round of talks on Iran's disputed nuclear programme has wrapped up, Fars news agency reported on Nov. 7.

The negotiating sides are to have a break for a few hours, before the second round starts. Thus far, no statements have been issued from any of the sides.

The talks have started earlier today in Geneva at approximately 11:00 (Geneva, local time).

Prior to the start of the negotiations, member of Iran's negotiating team Majid Takhtravanchi told journalists in Geneva that during the talks, every sensitive issue, including sanctions and uranium enrichment would be discussed, Mehr news agency reported.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sounded a note of optimism ahead of the talks, saying he thought a deal could be within reach.

"I believe it is even possible to reach that agreement this week," Zarif told France 24 television on Tuesday. "But I can only talk for our side, I cannot talk for the other side."

The meeting is the second since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August pledging to resolve the nuclear dispute and lift sanctions by engaging with world powers.

Last month's talks in Geneva - held in English for the first time - saw Iran reportedly outline a two-stage process that would resolve the dispute within a year.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva on the eve of the talks, a senior US official said Washington is willing to offer Iran limited sanctions relief if it agrees to take a "first step" to stop advancing its nuclear programme, AP reported.

"What we're looking for now is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran's nuclear programme from moving forward... and that potentially rolls some of it back," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We are prepared to offer limited, targeted and reversible sanctions relief. We are not talking about touching the core architecture of the Iranian sanctions regime in this first step," the official said.

The official refused to give details of the offers on the table, but said the first stage would "put time on the clock" to negotiate a final agreement.

World powers are represented at the talks by the so-called P5+1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

The group has held years of talks with Tehran on its uranium enrichment, which Western powers suspect may be aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Iran has repeatedly denied this, insisting its nuclear programme is only for generating electricity and for medical purposes.