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EU, Iran deputy foreign policy chiefs begin talks on Tehran’s nuclear programme

January 09, 2014, 23:33 UTC+3 GENEVA
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GENEVA, January 09, 23:29 /ITAR-TASS/. Deputy foreign policy chiefs of the European Union and Iran are meeting here on Thursday to discuss how soon the sides would be able to start implementing the accords reached between Iran and the Sextet of international mediators (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany) on Tehran's nuclear program, Michael Mann, the spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told Itar-Tass.

The bilateral meeting has started, he said. The talks involve Helga Schmidt, European Union Deputy High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.

Later in the day, Araghchi is expected to meet with Wendy Sherman, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, who arrived at the Geneva hotel, where the talks are being held behind closed doors, in the morning. The sides however agreed to provide no details of the negotiations. According to Mann, no events for the press are planned. It is not ruled out that the talks would yield a communiquй, he added.

The current round of talks takes up consultations between Iranian and Sextet experts that were held in December 2013 in Geneva. Those consultations, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, yielded “positive results” in the movement towards the beginning of the implementation of the so-called joint action plan that had been adopted after many-day ministerial talks in Geneva on November 24, 2013.

According to the document, which is intended for half a year, Tehran, in particular, pledges not to enrich uranium above five percent, not to advance in its activities at the fuel enrichment installation in Natanz, at Fordo facility, or reactor in Arak, not to create new places for enrichment of uranium, and allow large-scale inspections of its facilities by experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Western countries, for their part, agreed partially to slacken economic sanctions. The accords reached were referred to as the first step to be followed by an all-embracing 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.

Earlier, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official mentioned January 20 as the date when the sides may start implementing this joint action plan.

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