|Nuclear talks ‘slow’ but in ‘good atmosphere’: Iranian negotiator||
TEHRAN – A senior member of the Iranian negotiating team with the world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program said on Friday that the talks were moving forward “slowly” but in a “good atmosphere.”
Abbas Araqchi, the Iranian deputy foreign minister, said, “There is a good atmosphere and the talks are moving with goodwill but they are very difficult and slow.”
Iran and the six major powers started a decisive round of nuclear talks on Wednesday in Vienna to begin drawing up the draft of a final nuclear deal which is aimed at resolving a decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The talks come after three rounds of preliminary negotiations held over the past three months, in which the two sides discussed general issues and expressed their expectations from each other.
The Vienna talks are meant to build on the interim deal that Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) struck in Geneva in November 2013.
Under the Geneva deal, Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into force on January 20. Iran and the major powers have set a July 20 deadline to clinch a long-term nuclear deal. The deadline can be extended for another six months.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif, who leads the Iranian negotiation team, held a number of meetings on Thursday and Friday with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the talks on behalf of the powers.
Iran’s Araqchi holds one-on-one talks with U.S. negotiator
Also, his deputy Araqchi held one-on-one discussions with his opposite numbers on the 5+1 group. He held a meeting with U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday as well.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf wrote on her twitter account that the delegations of Iran and the U.S. met bilaterally for three hours and had a serious and straightforward discussion.
According to reports, the negotiations were scheduled to end on Friday.
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