Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton started the second day of the talks by holding a one-on-one meeting in Geneva on Thursday. Iran and the six other countries - the US, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany - are working to resolve the Western standoff over the Iranian nuclear energy program. Zarif, who is Iran’s highest-ranking representative at the talks, and Ashton, who is leading the teams from the six other countries, had held a first bilateral meeting on Wednesday. After the Wednesday meeting between Zarif and Ashton, the deputy foreign ministers of Iran and the six countries held a plenary session of negotiations. In a Wednesday message on his Facebook page, which was also carried by IRNA, Zarif said that “serious and detailed talks” with Ashton on a potential “final agreement” will start on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, responding on Thursday to a question by a Press TV journalist on how the talks were proceeding, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is also a member of the Iranian negotiating team, said that it was still too soon to confirm anything. “It’s still too soon to confirm anything but this is a principle we have already agreed upon that any measures that should be taken by each side should be equal and balanced with the measures that the other side should take,” he said. “So, the first step and the last step and everything [about] which we come to an agreement should be balanced and ... reciprocal. So I hope that this principle can be applied to the negotiations and there would be no agreement without this,” he added.
He also said that the two sides still have “major differences” but expressed optimism that diplomacy would bring about a deal.
The previous round of the talks had been held in Geneva on November 7-10.