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GENEVA, November 7 (Itar-Tass) - Another round of negotiations on the settlement of the Iranian nuclear dossier is beginning in Geneva on Thursday between the six key nations (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and Iran.
Taking part in the meeting will be EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as the political directors of the six nations. The Russian side will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. The American delegation is led by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.
It is the second over the past three weeks meeting in this format. The previous was also held in Geneva on October 15-16. Then the parties agreed to intensify the stalled negotiating process and involve in it nuclear experts and specialists on sanction regimes. Such consultations were held in Vienna last week.
The Geneva round, the parties admit, for the first time took place in such a constructive and open atmosphere. Tehran presented to the six international mediators a package of new proposals, which, according to Iranian diplomats, is aimed at convincing the international community of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. However, the sides have not year overcome the mutual distrust accumulated over the years.
Thus, the American side during the October meeting in Geneva was demonstrating quite a positive attitude, but in recent days it has toughened its rhetoric against Tehran. “Our goal is to achieve a verifiable agreement that does not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “We’ve said, obviously, that the window is open for us to pursue this option, to achieve our goal of not allowing Iran to possess a nuclear weapon, and we’re going to aggressively pursue that while the window is open,” he said on the eve of the next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) in Geneva. “But it won’t remain open indefinitely,” he said, issuing a subtle warning to Iran to accelerate the process to address the concerns of the international community on its nuclear programme. “So we’re obviously going into this eyes wide open, but as we’ve discussed in the past, we need to take advantage of this opportunity to see if, in fact, Iran is serious about addressing the international community’s concerns when it comes to its nuclear weapons programme in a way that is verifiable for the United States and the whole international community that’s concerned about it,” he said.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said for his part that he was “not optimistic” about the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme, but supported the Iranian delegation. He also stressed that the United States “cannot do anything” against Iran.
Moscow in the run-up to the current round again urged the negotiators to show the political will and readiness to compromise. “There are encouraging signs in the work to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “Russia is ready for teamwork with the objective of reaching tangible practical results.” “We hope that all the parties to the negotiations will display the political will and readiness for mutually acceptable compromises and will not give priority to their geopolitical considerations, will not undermine a real chance to achieve a breakthrough in solving this complex problem,” the minister emphasised.
The details of the Iranian plan have not yet been officially disclosed. Sources in Tehran only say that the proposals suggest lifting of all sanctions and developing cooperation of Iran with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).