Iran, US, EU wrap of first round of trilateral talks in Muscat
Tehran, Iran, Nov. 9
By Milad Fashtami - Trend:
The first round of trilateral talks between Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy's former chief who heads P5+1 in nuclear talks with Tehran, was finished in Omani capital Muscat at 14:30 local time.
The next round of talks will be started in a few hours, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported on Nov. 9.
Iran and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council comprising of China, France, Russia, Britain, the US Plus Germany) sealed an interim deal in Geneva on November 24, 2013 to pave the way for the full resolution of the West's decade-old dispute with Iran over the country's nuclear energy program.
The Geneva deal took effect on January 20 and expired on July 20. However the two sides agreed to extend their talks for four months till Nov. 24 to reach a permanent deal on Iran's disputed nuclear program.
In exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the US and its allies agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran.
Iran and P5+1 are negotiating to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement until Nov.24.
Zarif told on Nov.9 before leaving Tehran that the talks in Oman will focus on disputes between the two parties, mainly about uranium enrichment and lifting of sanctions as well as the duration of comprehensive agreement.
The United States, France, Britain and Germany would like the number of enrichment centrifuges Iran maintains to be in the low thousands, while Tehran wants to keep tens of thousands in operation. It now has about 19,000 installed, of which about 10,000 are spinning to refine uranium.
The Western countries imposed sanctions over Iran's oil revenues, as well as the Central Bank of Iran in mid-2012 which continue as of now.
The West is also reportedly keen to expand the duration of comprehensive nuclear agreement for two decades, but Iran demands that this time be short.