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Iran, P5+1 talks to begin in New York

Moscow was not completely confident that Iran and six world powers can work out an agreement by November 24, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said

NEW YORK, September 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Political directors from Iran and the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) will meet in New York on Friday, beginning a new round of talks on the Iranian nuclear programme.

The talks will be preceded by a coordinating meeting of the P5+1 political directors under the chairmanship of Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. He said Russia would “continue to work with its partners in order to lay the groundwork for compromises”.

“The recent contacts, including bilateral ones, with the Iranians were quite promising and showed that the Iranian delegation is preparing for the upcoming round most fundamentally,” Ryabkov said, adding that the six world powers were preparing as well.

He said the Western sanctions against Russia would not affect its determination to work with the United States and the European Union towards the result at the talks between Iran the six world powers in New York.

“The pressure of sanctions the U.S. and the EU are trying to put on us affects the overall atmosphere of our relations with Washington and the European Union. This is indisputable and this cannot help the dialogue and interaction,” the diplomat said.

But “there are no deviations from the chartered course”, he added.

“We will continue working towards the result,” Ryabkov said.

The Arak reactor and uranium enrichment are the most complex issues to be addressed at the new round of talks, the diplomat said.

Among the most challenging issues he named “uranium enrichment, the heavy-water reactor at Arak, verification, and the closure of the so-called military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear programme. Four blocks”.

At the same time, he said Moscow was not completely confident that Iran and six world powers can work out an agreement by November 24.

He said, however, that there was no pessimism and the sides had to continue working.

“The previous round brought no tangible progress or breakthrough,” he said upon arrival in the United States. “What makes us feel optimistic is that we know the list of issues, there are not so many of them, and can more or less say which of them will be in the centre of discussion, not to say struggle.”

“But as a counterbalance to that, there is no confidence that concrete compromises can be reached during this round beginning on the 19th [of September]. I mean there is no certainty as to whether the ministers of the six world powers and Iran will meet or not,” the diplomat said.

Nor there is confidence that after the ministerial week at the U.N. General Assembly to end on September 27 the parties will have enough time to work things out by November 24.

“But none of what I have said means that we feel pessimistic. On the contrary, this complexity spurs activity and raises the level of energy in all delegations,” Ryabkov said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said earlier this month he was hopeful that the decision on the Iranian nuclear issue would be reached by November 24.

Speaking after a meeting with Ashton, Zarif expressed hope that given the readiness and political will demonstrated by the sides the solution could be reached within three months.

The talks between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) group, which were supposed to be concluded on July 20, will continue until November 24, a day before the end of a year since the adoption of the Geneva Agreement.

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 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, 2014.