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Expert talks between Iran, six world powers suspended for Christmas

December 23, 2013, 10:22 UTC+3 GENEVA
“The round is over. The parties have taken a break,” a source who took part in the negotiations told Itar-Tass
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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R)

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R)

© EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

GENEVA, December 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Expert-level negotiations between Iran and the six world powers (five permanent members of the US Security Council and Germany, P5+1) have ended in Geneva on Sunday and will be continued in the near future.

“The round is over. The parties have taken a break,” a source who took part in the negotiations told Itar-Tass. He admitted that the date for the next meeting had not been set yet, but “there is an understanding that it will be held soon.”

Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, confirmed to Itar-Tass that the negotiations would be suspended for Catholic Christmas that is celebrated on December 25. “A break has been taken for the Christmas holiday. The technical talks will be resumed before the New Year,” she said.

 

Slow progress

Kocijancic also confirmed that Ashton held a telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Sunday. She did not disclose the conversation details. According to previous reports in Iranian media, the conversation that focused on details of the experts’ technical consultations lasted 45 minutes.

Zarif admitted on Sunday that the expert-level negotiations were not easy and their progress was slow.

 

What has been done

The main aim of a regular round of technical consultations that was held from Thursday to Sunday was to develop a detailed plan for the implementation of the political agreements, reached at the ministerial level in Geneva at the end of November.

Then, after many-day negotiations, the P5+1 and Iran agreed on the so-called Joint Action Plan. According to this document, planned for six months, Tehran, among other things, undertook a commitment not to enrich uranium above the level of 5%, not to advance further in its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, at the Fordow facility and at the Arak reactor, not to create new enrichment facilities and allow large-scale inspection of its facilities by experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Western countries, in turn, agreed to partially ease economic sanctions against Iran.

These arrangements were described as “the first step,” which was to be replaced by a comprehensive agreement. It is intended, on the one hand, to fully remove the international community’s concerns over the possible military focus of Iran’s nuclear program, and on the other — to lift economic sanctions that are a serious obstacle to Iran’s economic development.

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