No progress made in trilateral nuclear talks in Oman, Iran says
Senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi said that no progress has been made in the two-day-long trilateral talks among Iran, the US and the EU over Tehran's nuclear energy program.
Araqchi, who is also the Iranian deputy foreign minister, said that negotiations in the Omani capital, Muscat, were useful, however, no headway was made, the Islamic Republic's Press TV reported Nov. 11.
He said the sides are now "working on solutions" after months of talks on different subjects, adding that the Iranian side believes that "negotiations in the past two days and discussions were very useful. But we are not still in a position to say that we have made progress. It's yet to be done in the coming days. We would be available as much as needed here in Oman or in any other places before the deadline of 24 of November. We are still hopeful."
The top negotiator noted that a lot of work has remained to be done and more expert-level and bilateral meetings were required.
Araqchi added that the process of striking a comprehensive deal on Iran's nuclear energy program needs "lots of goodwill by all parties and of course readiness to make difficult decisions."
Araqchi further described the issue of uranium enrichment as a "key question" for the other side and the lifting of sanctions slapped on Iran as a "very important key question" for Tehran.
Referring to different aspects of sanctions, Araqchi said the sides have to find a solution about "how and when these sanctions are removed."
"It's a fact that based on a possible comprehensive solution all the sanctions should be lifted," he said, expressing hope that the negotiating sides could find a settlement to the issue of enrichment.
"Iran would certainly continue its enrichment, but the question is the capacity of this enrichment which should be determined based on our practical needs and that would be something we are very hopeful to come to at the end of these negotiations," he added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State John Kerry held two days of trilateral nuclear talks in Muscat on Nov. 9-10.
Last November, Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council comprising of China, France, Russia, Britain, the US Plus Germany) clinched an interim nuclear accord, which took effect on Jan. 20 and expired six months later. However, the parties agreed to extend their talks until Nov. 24 as they remained divided on a number of key issues.