Iran nuclear talks to reconvene in ‘a few weeks,’ says Zarif

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Iran and world powers will meet in Geneva in “a few weeks” to continue negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday.

“The continuation of the negotiations will be in Geneva in a few weeks,” Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Facebook page.

This announcement came on Wednesday afternoon a few hours after Iran's top negotiator said that a nuclear proposal presented to major powers in Geneva allows for “snap inspections” of the country’s nuclear facilities, reported Agence France-Presse.

“None of these issues exist in the first step, but they are part of our last step,” Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying to official news agency IRNA by AFP.

The protocol allows unannounced inspections of a country's nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and requires that information be provided on all activities regarding the nuclear fuel cycle.

Currently, Iran is obliged to inform the IAEA three months ahead of transferring fissile material into a nuclear site.
Iran and the European Union-chaired P5+1 group began Wednesday a second day of talks concerning Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iran has been praised by all sides due to the new Iranian president’s proposal to end the decade-long standoff over the issue.
The Geneva talks, which began Tuesday, ended a sixth-month suspension in diplomacy, sparked by Iran’s refusal to curb uranium enrichment.

Iranian negotiators and their counterparts from the European Union-chaired P5+1 group - including the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany - are set to meet behind closed doors this morning.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team made an hour-long presentation on Tuesday to the P5+1. The presentation was made in English, for the first time, which Western diplomats said emphasised the new mood.

“The proposal that we have introduced has the capacity to make a breakthrough,” Iran’s lead negotiator Abbas Araqchi said, telling reporters it was “very comprehensive” but that all parties had agreed to keep it under wraps.

Iran’s red lines include suspending uranium enrichment or shipping stockpiles of purified material abroad.
Araqchi said the “reaction was good” to the proposal.

“We are very serious. We are not here symbolically, [or] to waste our time,” he added.

From a Western perspective, U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki highlighted that the discussions were “ongoing” and therefore not “a breakthrough at this stage,” reported AFP.

“However, it certainly is positive that there was enough information to have technical discussions,” she added.

Newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rowhani succeeded conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August.

In contrast with the former president’s policies, Rowhani has pledged transparency on the nuclear program and engagement with the international community in a bid to lift sanctions on Iran.

Israel has expressed its fears over Iran’s intentions and has warned against being taken by Rowhani’s “sweet talk,” reported AFP.

(With AFP)