|China, Russia say Iran nuclear talks made progress||
TEHRAN – China says the latest round of negotiations between Iran and the six world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program has “made some progress” and Russia says “the talks went well”.
Negotiators from Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) met again in the Austrian capital of Vienna on April 8-9 as part of efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement on the decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities.
An interim deal was clinched between the Islamic Republic and the powers in November last year according to which Iran agreed to offer a number of concessions in exchange for limited relief from the sanctions imposed on the country.
The two sides have agreed to meet again in Vienna on May 13.
“Generally speaking, the atmosphere of the talks was positive,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Thursday, Xinhua reported.
During the two days of talks, all sides took part in discussion on specific elements of the agreement, Hong said, adding that all sides showed willingness to reach the final deal at an early date.
Negotiations over the final agreement still face obstacles, and differences are inevitable, Hong noted.
The Chinese spokesman highlighted the constructive attitude of all sides while dealing with differences and also willingness to resolve each other's concerns through negotiations.
China will continue to play its constructive role in the next round of talks to reach a final agreement at an early date, said Hong.
‘Small but significant step forward’
Also, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday expressed hope that the two sides can reach a comprehensive agreement by July 20, though there is no guarantee, he said.
Ryabkov noted that the nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group in Vienna went well and laid the groundwork for discussing concrete wording of the future agreement, the Russian Itar-Tass news agency reported.
“There is such a chance even though there is no guarantee and there can be no guarantee. But we could see that all parties are determined to find a solution,” he said.
“The talks went well. The result is the statement of gradual rapprochement. We came to an understanding that there is the basis for the May round, to be held in the middle of the month, for starting to discuss concrete wording,” Ryabkov said.
“But there are also difficulties. Some serious and big problems are unlikely to be resolved quickly,” he added.
“What is important though is that the parties continued to pursue the points stated at the March and February rounds of talks, specifically going into details and focusing on the search for solutions and engaging with experts rather than reproducing their positions,” Ryabkov said.
“All this was evident at the just-concluded round. In other words, a small but significant and noticeable step forward was taken,” he said.
“There are a number of well known decisions of the UN Security Council, resolutions of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors and the Geneva plan of action, which says that the future parameters of the future Iranian program should be determined jointly by all parties to the talks, taking into account the practical needs of Iran,” the diplomat said.
“The problem is how to put all this into the language of concrete agreements,” he added.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the country’s chief negotiator, said on Wednesday that the two sides were in “50 to 60 percent agreement,” adding that he expected the July 20 deadline for a final deal could be reached.
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