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Russia hopes new round of Iran nuclear talks will lead to comprehensive agreement

March 17, 2014, 22:24 UTC+3 VIENNA
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VIENNA, March 17, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia hopes that the next round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) will lead to a comprehensive agreement between the sides, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said upon arrival in Vienna on Monday, March 17.

The talks will begin here on Tuesday, March 18. “Everyone is in the working mood and there are grounds to hope that progress will be achieved but without crucial agreements since this is only the second round,” the diplomat said.

He recalled that the work had never stopped after the previous round: “experts met in early March, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi was in Moscow, and telephone calls were exchanged among the P5+1 members.”

Commenting on the results of the Vienna talks between experts, Ryabkov reaffirmed that approaches had been worked out to three of the nine sections of the future comprehensive agreement. “Different options were discussed for enrichment and the heavy water reactor in Arak, but all this is subject to political solution,” he said.

When asked whether the situation in Ukraine may affect relations within the P5+1, Ryabkov said that Russia “is committed to normal work.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope that the second round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 would lead to the final agreement that will resolve all remaining questions about the Iranian nuclear programme.

“We want the second round to end with the final agreement that will close all questions concerning the Iranian nuclear programme and stop the sanctions,” he said.

The interim nuclear deal made on November 24, 2013, called for taking the first step of reciprocal actions to prove good faith in a six-month period to be followed by negotiations for a comprehensive agreement, according to which the Western governments will acknowledge the Iranian nuclear programme as civilian.

The previous round of technical consultations between Iran and the P5+1 at the level of experts ended in Geneva on December 31, 2013. A source involved in the negotiating process told ITAR-TASS that “substantial progress” had been achieved.

The main purpose of the consultations was to work out concrete steps to implement the Joint Plan of Action, which was agreed at the ministerial level in Geneva in late November 2013.

After many days of intensive discussions, the sides agreed the joint action plan in November. According to the plan, which spans a period of six months, Tehran pledged not to enrich uranium above a 5 percent concentration, not to continue fuel enrichment operations at Natanz, Fordo and Arak, and not to create new enrichment facilities.

Western countries, in turn, agreed to ease economic sanctions on Iran. Tehran will see the removal of sanctions on oil, petrochemicals, auto industry, gold and metal trades as well as parts of the aviation sector, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, adding that a total amount of 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Iranian frozen assets would ultimately be released.

Iran has already received the first portion of its assets frozen earlier in Western banks. This is the first part of Iran’s 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of oil revenues that were frozen abroad. The money will be transferred to Iran in eight installments.

The Western governments will guarantee an end to the propaganda campaign against the Iranian nuclear programme and the lifting of the sanctions they imposed on Iran, IRNA said.

The deal was called the first step to be followed by a comprehensive agreement, which, on the one hand, should resolve the international community’s concerns about the Iranian nuclear programme and, on the other hand, remove economic sanctions that slow down Iran’s economic development.

The agreement reached by and between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) in Geneva last year became effective on January 20.

Araghchi told IRNA that there was a mutual understanding between Iran and G5+1 to enter into the next phase after implementing the first step of the interim agreement.

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