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Moscow hopes second round of Iran 5+1 talks will resolve remaining issues

February 19, 2014, 19:00 UTC+3 KUWAIT CITY
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, met in Vienna
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5+1 nuclear talks (archive)

5+1 nuclear talks (archive)

© EPA/DRAGAN TATIC

KUWAIT CITY, February 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow hopes that the second round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) will lead to the final agreement that will resolve all remaining questions about the Iranian nuclear programme, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

He spoke to the media after a Joint Ministerial Meeting on Strategic Dialogue between the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and Russia in Kuwait City on Wednesday, February 19.

“We discussed the Iranian nuclear programme. We share the opinion that the agreements reached in Geneva in November [2013] are implemented effectively. We hope that their full implementation will help [the sides] to move on to the second stage,” Lavrov said.

“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.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, met in Vienna.

“The consultations have just ended. The sides discussed the pace of the negotiation process,” an informed source in the Iranian delegation told ITAR-TASS.

He said it was not yet clear whether a second plenary meeting would take place later in the day or not.

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 550 million U.S. dollar 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.

Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will resume their talks on the Iranian nuclear programme in New York in February, the IRNA news agency said in late January.

It said that a new round of talks would be held in the presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, P5+1 officials.

The news agency said that the talks would focus on drafting a comprehensive agreement which will envisage cooperation of the Western governments with Iran on its national nuclear programme.

Iran and the world powers are due to hold the next round of nuclear talks in Vienna on February 18.

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