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Final round of talks between P5+1 and Iran starts in Vienna

July 03, 2014, 12:37 UTC+3 VIENNA
The parties expect to prepare the final agreement, which will allow closing the Iranian “nuclear dossier”, by July 20
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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

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

© EPA/HANS PUNZ

VIENNA, July 3. /ITAR-TASS/. The sixth round of talks between Iran and the six world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) has officially kicked off in Vienna with a plenary session with the participation of Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who coordinates the work of the group of six. According to Ashton’s spokesperson Michael Mann, the meeting is taking place at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna.

After the plenary session, the consultations will traditionally continue in bilateral and multilateral formats. This round may become the last one in long-term negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program. The parties expect to prepare the final agreement, which will allow closing the Iranian “nuclear dossier”, by July 20. On Wednesday, all participants expressed confidence that it is possible to make it. To date, a draft document is prepared, and there are still many differences in it.

The delegations’ representatives arrived in the Austrian capital July 2 and held a coordination meeting in order to compare notes. Head of Russia’s delegation, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Ryabkov stated after his arrival in Vienna that P5+1 approached the July round of talks with a joint coordinated stance. “The coordination meeting in Brussels (June 26) was aimed at the group’s formulating a stance for the next round: defining where the limits of flexibility are, and where there is no flexibility at all. We all equally understand what is to be decided and what possibilities for compromise,” he said.

The traditional business lunch of Ashton and Zarif ahead of the round’s official start was cancelled this time. A source in the Iranian delegation specified that this was link “not to some political difficulties or differences”, but with the start of the Ramadan Muslim fasting month.

Ryabkov said he had to leave the Austrian capital for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit due to take place in Brazil. “I’m a BRICS Sherpa. I shall have to go to Brazil for coordinating the summit’s final document,” he said.

In view of another religious fest celebrated July 16 the Iranian delegation hopes to finish the negotiations and coordinate the final agreement earlier. However, the participants of the talks believe that this would be hard to achieve.

In the meantime, Ryabkov has expressed skepticism over a possibility of any final agreements on Iran’s nuclear program ahead of schedule - July 15.

“I believe it’s unlikely. It’s rather hard to achieve progress till July 15,” Ryabkov said.

From July 16, Iranians commemorate the Day of Ashura, the day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 680.

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