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Iran FM says nuclear talks to continue soon

After two-day meeting, foreign minister says next round of talks will take place in Geneva 'in a few weeks.'

Last Modified: 16 Oct 2013 14:16
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Iran and world powers will meet in Geneva in "a few weeks" to continue negotiations over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday.

"The continuation of the negotiations will be in Geneva in a few weeks," Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Facebook page.

Iran, the United States and five other world powers revived stalled nuclear talks in Geneva on Tuesday, with Tehran laying out a road map to end the showdown over its nuclear ambitions.

Negotiators from the European Union-chaired P5+1 group on Wednesday pored over what Iran billed as a breakthrough proposal to end the decade-long standoff over its nuclear programme.

"In the meantime, the P5+1 members will have the opportunity to [study] the details of Iran's proposals and prepare actions they need to take," Zarif said. "Negotiations and reaching a resolution is difficult, and negotiating over details requires time and great deliberation."

Michael Mann, the spokesman for the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who leads the negotiations on behalf of world powers, said the Iranian presentation had been "very useful", but did not elaborate.

Nuclear talks - the view from Iran

Western officials said the fact that the plan was delivered in English for the first time underlined a new mood in the often-tense nuclear talks.

Abbas Araghchi, a senior Iranian negotiator, praised the "very positive environment" and said the "reaction was good" across the table.

Israeli warning

However, Western diplomats stressed they wanted Tehran to back up newly conciliatory language with concrete actions by agreeing to scale back its enrichment of uranium and take verifiable steps to show it is not covertly trying to develop the means to produce nuclear bombs.

The talks in Geneva are seen as a test for the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who took office in August pledging transparency on the nuclear programme and engagement with the international community to help lift the sanctions strangling Iran's economy.

Israel on Tuesday urged the world to avoid a partial deal with Iran which could see a relaxing of sanctions.

Its security cabinet warned the international community against any "partial agreement that would fail to bring about the full dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear programme...[which] could lead to the collapse of the sanctions regime."

The US and its allies suspect Iran is seeking to develop the capability to make nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, but its refusal to curb sensitive nuclear activity has drawn tough international sanctions.

Since 2006, Iran has rejected the UN Security Council demands that it halt uranium enrichment and has continued to expand its nuclear fuel programme, leading to increasingly harsh sanctions. 

Hopes of a negotiated settlement of the dispute were raised last month when President Barack Obama and Rouhani spoke by telephone, the highest level US-Iranian contact since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. Washington and Tehran have not had diplomatic relations since 1980.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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