EU optimistic about Iran nuclear talks

Published September 9th, 2014 - 06:45 GMT

The European Union (EU) has expressed optimism about the prospect of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said on Monday that the remaining gaps between Iran and the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany could be narrowed in the next round of  negotiations due to be held in New York on September 18.

“My hope is that we will make progress... We believe, although we are far apart, there is the possibility of being able to narrow the gap,” Ashton stated.

 “But we are determined in so doing to do it fully aware that the world is watching and expecting that any agreement must be a good and positive one if it can be found,” she added.

On Monday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said that despite the current understanding of the concerns on both sides, deep disagreements still remain.

Araqchi, who is also Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, added that a major persisting difficulty is agreement on a timetable for the lifting of the illegal sanctions imposed against Iran as a reciprocal measure by the six countries.

On September 1, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ashton, who represents the six countries, met in Brussels, Belgium, and discussed the process of the ongoing nuclear talks.

Following the negotiations with Ashton, Zarif said he is optimistic that the issues related to the Iranian nuclear energy program “can be resolved in time” within the November 24 deadline.

Last November, Iran and the six countries signed an interim deal in Geneva, which took effect on January 20 and expired six months later on July 20.  The two sides have agreed to extend negotiations until November 24.

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