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Expert-level talks between Iran and Sextet to begin in Geneva

December 19, 2013, 6:24 UTC+3 GENEVA
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GENEVA, December 19, 6:14 /ITAR-TASS/. Expert-level talks between Iran and the Sextet of international mediators (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany) will be held on Thursday in Geneva, a source at the Russian permanent mission at the United Nations and other Geneva-based international organizations told Itar-Tass, thus confirming reports of Iran’s Fars news agency.

It is planed that the round of technical consultations will take two days, although Fars, citing Iranian officials, did not rule out that it might extend into the weekend. The talks are geared to work out a detailed plan to implement the political agreements reached in Geneva at the ministerial level in late November.

Nothing was said about the subjects to be discussed at these consultations. But it looks symbolic that the venue for this round of talks was chosen in Geneva, not Vienna, a home to the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The previous technical consultations that had been held in the Austrian capital on December 9 through 12 were stopped after the Iranian delegation quitted the negotiations to have consultations at home, in Teheran. Some observers said the move was meant to demonstrate resentment against the United States after the latter had announced sanctions against a number of Iranian organizations and individuals, and against third country legal entities and citizens maintaining contacts with Iran.

The choice of Geneva as a venue for talks may say that the subjects to be raised at this round of talks would be of political and economic nature rather than technical aspects. Nonetheless, it is not ruled out that nuclear experts would take part in the consultations as well.

The Geneva talks between the Sextet and Iran on November 20-24 yielded the so-called joint action plan. The document meant for a period of six months binds Teheran not to enrich uranium by more than five percent, not to continue nuclear activities at the facilities in Natanz, Fordo and Arak, not to create new jobs at uranium-enriching facilities. Western countries, in turn, agreed to mitigate economic sanctions.

These agreements were described as the “first step,” which is to be superseded by a comprehensive agreement that would remove the world community’s worries about possible military uses of the Iranian nuclear programme, on the one hand, and would do away with economic sanctions hindering Iran’s economic development, on the other hand.

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