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Talks between Iran and P5+1 to continue

November 21, 2013, 10:12 UTC+3 GENEVA
Some disagreements remain since last meeting on November 7-9, but the sides are determined to work towards a positive outcome
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton


GENEVA, November 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Talks between Iran and the six world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) will continue in Geneva on Thursday amid optimism and heavy security measures.

The six world powers and Iran reaffirmed their commitment to moving forward, Michael Mann, the spokesperson for the Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said after a plenary meeting on Wednesday.

Mann said some disagreements remained since last meeting on November 7-9, but the sides were determined to work towards a positive outcome and expressed hope that the P5+1 and Iran would reach a viable solution.

He declined, however, to speculate about an opportunity to have a ministerial meeting in Geneva this time. He said he knew nothing about the arrival of foreign ministers and did not want to make forecasts. A source from the Iranian delegation either refused to comment on whether the meeting of political directors would be upgraded to the ministerial level.

A long way to consensus

At talks that have continued for more than 10 years, the P5+1 tries to make Iran take steps that would allay fears of the international community that Iran could be seeking nuclear weapons capability. Iran needs the lifting of large-scale sanctions that deal a serious blow to the Iranian economy.

Details of the agreement on the negotiating table are not disclosed. At the same time Mann has warned that sanctions would not be lifted without agreement reached.

Earlier, a high-ranking American diplomat said on conditions of anonymity that there would be no major easing of sanctions. A US administration official said the Sextet and Iran were currently working on a first step, an agreement designed for half-a-year.

Ministerial meeting

The previous round of talks in Geneva also began at the level of political directors and then unexpectedly got ministerial status. As foreign ministers kept arriving, security around the main negotiation sites was getting heavier. This meeting takes place from the very first day amid unprecedented security measures.

It was not concealed this time that a ministerial meeting could take place, and all depended on how close the sides would come to the signing of an agreement. Judging by security measures taken in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry and their P5+1 colleagues are expected.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry confirmed that as the arrival of ministers came as a surprise early in November, this time they had decided to prepare in advance.

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