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Lavrov, Kerry discuss steps to settle situation around Iran’s nuclear program

November 24, 2014, 2:13 UTC+3
“A number of urgent international issues, as well as certain aspects of the bilateral agenda were also considered,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement
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MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed in detail at a meeting in Vienna the course of the negotiating round of the six international mediators on Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran, which is nearing completion, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Facebook.

The sides “exchanged opinions on what steps could be made to maximally contribute to the achievement of a comprehensive settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program,” the ministry said in a statement.

“A number of urgent international issues, as well as certain aspects of the bilateral agenda were also considered,” the statement said.

Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif also have discussed in Vienna possible steps to overcome differences between Iran and the six international negotiators on Tehran’s nuclear program, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Facebook.

“Special attention was paid to a search for solutions to key disputable aspects that hinder the elaboration of negotiating solutions,” the ministry said.

“The sides exchanged opinions with interest regarding possible further steps to overcome differences in order to reach a result that satisfies all participants of the talks as soon as possible,” it said.

Lavrov and Zarif said “achieving settlement will serve the strengthening of the international and regional security.”

P5+1 is the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France plus Germany.

Iran says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity, but Western powers led by the United States claim Iran’s eventual aim is to create nuclear weapons.

A plan of joint actions designed for a year that underlay the current negotiating process was agreed by Iran and the six international negotiators in Geneva on November 24, 2013. It in particular envisioned that Iran will get rid of half of accumulated uranium enriched to 20% and will dilute the second half to the 5-percent mark.

Besides, Tehran should stop enrichment of uranium to more than 5%, and halt work on enrichment enterprises in Natanz, Fordow and at the heavy-water reactor site in Arak.

In turn, the P5+1 members pledged not to impose new restrictions on export of Iranian oil, new sanctions and lift restrictions on exports of oil products and precious metals, as well as unfreeze part of Tehran’s foreign assets.

Implementation of agreements designed for six months started January 20, and the sides decided to draft a final agreement over the period. Over the six months, Iran complied with its commitments in full and had the sanctions regime against it eased.

But the sides failed to agree the document by July 20, and decided to shift the end date to November 24 - the provisional action plan's deadline. Iran committed itself to convert all 20-percent enriched uranium left to nuclear fuel.

On its part, the six international negotiators agreed to continue their policy not to use previously agreed sanctions against Iran and grant Tehran access to $2.8 billion out of its assets arrested abroad. The funds were to be provided in several tranches.

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