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Iran, P5+1 foreign ministers to attempt to reach political agreement

March 29, 2015, 2:29 UTC+3 LAUSANNE
The negotiation process will be held at the level of foreign ministers for the first time since last November, rather than at the level of political directors
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LAUSANNE, March 29. /TASS/. Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 international mediators (five permanent member of the UN Security Council - Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China - alongside Germany) will now attempt to resolve remaining disputable issues on Iran’s nuclear programme in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Sunday.

Ministerial Impulse

The negotiation process will be held at the level of foreign ministers for the first time since last November, rather than at the level of political directors. Since Thursday Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State has been staying in Lausanne. On Saturday the foreign ministers of France and Germany, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, joined them. Later in the day, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrived in the Swiss city.

"We are on the threshold of a political decision and a collective political impulse," Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, who is Russia’s delegate to the talks, said in comments on the situation there.

On threshold of agreement

The impetus, the ministers should create, is destined to help the sides achieve a principled political agreement on the remaining political issues. Ryabkov said "the chances to reach such a result in the coming days are high - well over 50%"

On Friday Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out that the progress achieved over the past few days allowed to resolve the remaining issues and even ink them "on paper."

A source in the Iranian delegation told TASS that if they manage to agree, the ministers could adopt a relevant statement.

The stumbling stone is sanctions and Fordo nuke facility

At the same time, noting the progress the participants in Lausanne talks have admitted that acute issues are present and these have been difficult to be resolved so far. First, a timetable on how the sanctions will be lifted from Tehran, then parameters of uranium enrichment and also the reformatting of nuclear facility in Fordo which cannot be used for production of weapons materials.

A source in the Iranian delegation said the issue of sanctions had failed to be resolved yet and would be put on the table at foreign ministers’ meeting. But the parties to the talks have succeeded in understanding each other’s positions in the recent days.

Not the last chance

A deadline for the negotiations in Lausanne is not clear-defined yet. At a meeting in Vienna in November 2014, the P5+1 and Tehran agreed to extend the deadline for a deal in the talks on Iran’s nuclear program to June 30, 2015.

The agreement stipulated that by the end of March 2015, the sides planned to achieve a principled political decision regarding disputed issues. There are only three days left.

Earlier, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told journalists that no decision on a possible timeframe for ending negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme has been made in Lausanne, adding the Iranian delegation was ready to stay in Lausanne as long as it was necessary.

In an interview with TASS, a source in the Iranian delegation did not rule out that the meeting would last more than one day.

Ryabkov said that "the deadline is not March 31 but June 30," and if the P5+1 fail to reach an agreement with Iran, "it will not be a reason for overhauling the system of negotiations."

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

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