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Zarif: Iran nuclear talks to resume next month

Details have yet to be given regarding the location or exact date of the talks

Published: Updated:

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday that talks with world powers to reach a long-term nuclear deal will resume next month.

Zarif said he agreed with EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton "to hold the first meeting of Iran and [the] P5+1 at the end of [the] Iranian month of Bahman" which ends on Feb. 19, according to Agence France-Presse.

"We wanted to hold the meeting earlier but our Chinese friends were not ready due to holidays of their new year" on January 31, he wrote on his Facebook page

Zarif, who is at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, did not specify where the talks would be held, or when the resumption was agreed with Ashton.

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian official Saturday dismissed the need for a Tehran office for U.N. inspectors tasked with monitoring Iran’s partial nuclear freeze, Mehr news agency said, according to AFP.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency had said the watchdog may ask Iran for permission “to set up a temporary office to provide logistical support,” for its inspectors.

U.N. inspectors are in Iran to monitor the implementation of a nuclear deal with Western powers that took effect on Monday, after Iran stopped enriching uranium above five percent fissile purities at its Natanz and Fordo facilities.

“In our opinion, by considering the volume of nuclear activities in the country, there is no need for setting up a nuclear watchdog office in Iran,” said Reza Najafi, Tehran’s envoy to the IAEA.

“We have not received such a request from the IAEA for setting up an office in Tehran,” Najafi told Mehr news agency.

On Friday, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said he might seek Iran’s permission for a Tehran office for inspectors.

IAEA needs to “double our staff and efforts” in order to carry out its role in monitoring the November deal which will require intensive checks over the next six months,” Amano said.

The IAEA had won backing from member states for its efforts to monitor Iran’s partial nuclear freeze, which will require an extra 5.5 million euros ($7.5 million), he added.

The United States, France, Britain and Germany were among those who had offered to contribute funds, IAEA chief said.

The IAEA currently has two teams of two inspectors each that take turns to monitor sites in Iran.

Under the interim six-month accord reached in Geneva last November, Tehran is required to freeze or curb its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for some sanctions relief while the two sides try to reach a comprehensive agreement.

The so-called P5+1 is composed of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany.