Representatives from Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain -- plus Germany opened their new round of negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva on Thursday. Talks have been extended into a third day on Saturday.
The Director General for political and international affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Hamid Baeidinejad, is leading the Iranian delegation, which is comprised of experts from nuclear, banking, oil and transportation sectors.
Stephen Clement, who is an aide to the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, heads the opposite negotiating team.
Iran and the Sextet of world powers inked an interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24 to set the stage for the full resolution of the dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.
Under the Geneva deal, the six countries have undertaken to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. It was also agreed that no more sanctions would be imposed on Iran within the same timeframe.
On December 12, the four-day expert-level talks between Iran and the six powers were put on hold after the United States issued new sanctions against more than a dozen Iranian and foreign companies and individuals for “providing support” for Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on December 15 called the new US sanctions a very wrong move, noting that Tehran still honors the interim nuclear deal it reached with the six world powers.
A top Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said on December 18 that Tehran agreed to resume talks with the six powers after Ashton reassured the Islamic Republic of “the seriousness of the P5+1 to advance the Geneva deal.”
“Wherever we feel that the other side does not respect its commitments, we will stop implementing the first stage of the Geneva agreement,” Araqchi said.
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