Iran, U.S., EU Hold Nuclear Talks in Oman

Sun Nov 9, 2014 16:28:11

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union envoy Catherine Ashton and Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah in Oman on Sunday (November 9), ahead of talks to try to advance efforts to end a standoff over Tehran's civilian nuclear programme, Oman TV reported.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the EU representative, Catherine Ashton, met at Muscat’s Al Bustan Palace on Sunday morning to discuss the progress of the nuclear negotiations.

The senior diplomats are set to continue their discussions in an afternoon session.

Speaking to Iranian television on his arrival in Muscat on Saturday night, Zarif reiterated that sanctions imposed on Iran had brought 'no result' for the West, Reuters reported.

"We need to reach a solution based on mutual respect and cooperation. If the West is interested in reaching such a solution, there is possibility to find a solution and to reach an understanding before November 24," he said.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV on his way to Muscat, Zarif said the illegal sanctions slapped on the country over its nuclear energy program have failed to meet the goals of those countries that imposed them.

The top Iranian diplomat said the removal of sanctions is a main theme of the Muscat talks, noting that the extent of Iran’s enrichment activities is another key topic in the negotiations.

The top Iranian diplomat said the removal of sanctions is a main theme of the Muscat talks, noting that the extent of Iran’s enrichment activities is another key topic in the negotiations.

Iran believes a final deal over its nuclear energy program can be reached if the other side has the political will to do so, Zarif added, saying his Sunday meeting with Kerry and Ashton will focus on bringing the viewpoints of both sides closer together.

Following the talks, Ashton is slated to chair a meeting of political directors from the P5+1 group - France, Britain, the US, Russia, China and Germany – in Muscat on Tuesday.

With only two weeks to a deadline for a breakthrough deal, senior envoys of Iran, the United States and European Union try to advance efforts to solve a standoff over Tehran's civilian nuclear programme.

The discussions, between 3 parties aim to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear work and lifting of sanctions imposed against iran.

Seyed Abbas Araghchi Iran's chief nuclear negotiator yesterday in an exclusive interview with AL-ALAM, emphasizing “no one want a return to the condition before Geneva agreement”, saying “this is dangerous scenario for all parties”.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister said new round of negotiations in Muscat - capital of Oman- will be determinative.

As Kerry arrived in Oman early on Sunday, a senior U.S. official said the three-way talks would be "an important meeting," with the focus on making progress in order to meet the deadline.

U.S. officials say major gaps still remain in the two sides' negotiating position.

Kerry said last week that the United States and its partners were not contemplating an extension of the Nov. 24 deadline, although he held out the possibility that negotiations could go beyond that date if major issues were agreed and there were only technical details to wrap up.

A senior Iranian official close to the talks told Reuters that the participants would discuss "the gaps that are still huge, Iran's uranium enrichment capacity and timeframe of lifting sanctions."

Iran and the six powers struck an interim deal last November. That six-month accord took effect early this year and was extended by four months in July.

Today The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has rejected claims by a US think tank that the Islamic Republic has violated the terms of the November 2013 interim nuclear agreement.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) recently alleged, based on an analysis of a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran, that the Islamic Republic “may have violated (the interim deal) by starting to feed (natural uranium gas) into one of its advanced centrifuges, namely the IR-5 centrifuge”, Press TV reports.

“Under the interim deal, this centrifuge should not have been fed with (gas) as reported in this safeguards report,” the ISIS stated.

On Sunday, Behrouz Kamalvandi, the AEOI spokesman, rejected the allegation, saying that injection of natural uranium gas into an IR-5 centrifuge at a research facility is within the framework of the interim deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – France, Britain, the United States, Russia and China – plus Germany.

“By doing so (injection), Iran has breached neither the Safeguards Agreement nor the Joint Plan of Action reached in Geneva last year.”

Kamalvandi also stated that Iran has made “no pledge to halt its research and development activities.”

The ISIS claim comes as the Arms Control Association, a Washington-based research and advocacy group, has also rejected the allegation.

“The latest IAEA report says clearly that no enriched uranium is being withdrawn from the machine,” the association has said.

Iran says it produces low-enriched uranium to make fuel for nuclear power plants.

One of the first states to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran signed its Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA in 1973. The accord came into force in 1974.

Safeguards are activities by which the IAEA seeks to verify that a state is not diverting nuclear material or equipment to produce nuclear weapons.

None of the reports released by the IAEA have said that Iran’s nuclear program is geared toward non-civilian purposes.

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