EU: World powers, Iran to meet in New York on Sep. 18

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the United Nations headquarters in Vienna. (File photo: Reuters)

World powers and Iran will hold a new round of talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program in New York on September 18, EU officials said Thursday.

The talks involving the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany and led by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton “will continue in New York as of September 18,” Ashton spokesman Michael Mann said.

Previously, U.S. officials said on Wednesday that American and Iranian officials will resume negotiations in Geneva this week as they seek to hammer out a full nuclear deal ahead of a November deadline.

The U.S. team led by Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Under Secretary Wendy Sherman will meet with Iranian officials on Thursday and Friday in the Swiss city, the State Department said in a surprise late-night statement.

Global powers and Iran agreed in late July to extend a deadline to reach a comprehensive and complex deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear ambitions until November 24.

The negotiations being led by a group known as the P5+1 had been expected to resume on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this month in New York.

"Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman, and Senior Advisor Jacob J. Sullivan will meet with Iranian officials in Geneva on September 4-5," the State Department said in its announcement.

"These bilateral consultations will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations led by EU High Representative Cathy Ashton," it added.

Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had "good discussions" with Ashton and Tehran was committed to an accord over its contested nuclear program.

Quoted by the Belga state news agency, Zarif said he was "fairly optimistic" after talks in Brussels on Monday with Ashton that Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany could reach a deal by the November deadline.

The West suspects Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons but Tehran insists the program is purely for peaceful purposes.

In exchange for accepting curbs on its nuclear activities, Iran wants a vast array of US, EU and U.N. sanctions to be lifted.

But any deal will have to be approved by the Islamic leadership in Tehran as well as by the U.S. Congress, where many lawmakers are seeking to impose even greater sanctions on Iran.
 

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Last Update: 12:27 KSA 15:27 - GMT 12:27
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