Iran, P5+1 start new round of expert level talks
Tehran, Iran, Oct. 22
By Milad Fashtami - Trend:
Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries have started a new round of expert level talks in Austrian city of Vienna.
The talks are co-presided by director general for political and international security affairs of Iran's Foreign Ministry Hamid Baeidinejad and Stephen Clement, an aide to the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported on October 22.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on October 22 that 90 percent of the negotiations have been completed and the two sides are taking the final steps.
However, she said that the reaching agreement on the remaining issues is difficult.
According to Afkham, the two sides are not interested in extending the 24-November deadline set for striking a final and comprehensive deal.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said on October 19 that progress has been made during the recent round of talks, but disagreements remains over key issues.
"We have achieved progress in certain details but have not agreed upon crucial issues. Of course a great deal of work has been done and different proposals have been reviewed and discussed. We hope to achieve a result but there's yet a long way to go," he said.
He went on to note that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the outgoing EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, and US Secretary of State John Kerry will most likely hold another trilateral meeting in two weeks time.
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 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.