Negotiating Parties in Internal Consultations as Ashton, Zarif End Talks
The first Friday meeting between Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton ended after an hour as the negotiating teams representing the six major world powers have entered internal consultations, Tasnim news portal reported on Nov. 22.
Intensive negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) over Tehran's nuclear program entered its third day in Geneva as top negotiators representing the two sides started another bilateral meeting on Nov. 22 morning.
Zarif and Ashton held a meeting at the Swiss city of Geneva's Intercontinental Hotel at 9 am local time.
The meeting, however, ended after an hour, so that the delegations would take the time to hold separate internal sessions to further discuss details of the talks.
Zarif and Ashton have held several sessions of meetings over the past two days, with the aim of reaching an agreement to help end the 10-year standoff over Iran's nuclear activities.
Foreign Minister Zarif is also Iran's top negotiator in the nuclear talks and Catherine Ashton oversees diplomacy with Iran on behalf of the Group 5+1 (also known as P5+1 or E3+3).
In the meantime, Michael Mann, the spokesman of EU foreign policy chief, described the first meeting of Friday between Zarif and Ashton as "useful", adding that his boss is now debriefing E3+3 (an alternative name for the G5+1) political directors.
According to reports, the negotiating sides have agreed that multilateral meetings would not begin unless an initial agreement between Iran and Ashton, as the representative of the six countries, is finalized.