Iranian nuclear talks substantive, says EU

Vienna, March 19: The talks between Iran and six world powers in Vienna is “substantive and useful”, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday.

The comment was made after Tuesday’s talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, namely Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany, heading to a comprehensive deal to resolve the long standing disputed Tehran’s nuclear programme, Xinhua reported.

“Plenary discussions today are substantive and useful,” a spokesperson for Ashton said in an e-mail.

The talks are striving to make progress for laying a solid ground for the comprehensive deal, the deadline of which is supposed to set by the end of July.

Based on the progress made in the last round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 group last month, all parties involved in the talks, scheduled for Tuesday to Thursday in Vienna, are working on specific issues.

Western states want Iran to scale back its nuclear programme and give greater transparence to ensure the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear programme, while Iran claims it will keep its right to develop peaceful nuclear programme and demand for sanction relief.

Wang Qun, China’s chief negotiator, said ahead of the talks that key elements of a comprehensive deal is the main topic in this round of negotiation.

“There will be specific issues in this round of talks,” Wang said, adding, although the upcoming talks seemed tougher than the last round, he believed all sides had a sincere attitude.

Worries about the crisis in Ukraine would have negative impact on the negotiation as Russia and the West are in tension. However, the EU seems to see no such impact on the talks.

Speaking to reporters, Michael Mann, a spokesperson for Ashton, said, “I haven’t seen any negative effect, … We continue our work in a unified fashion.”

Iranian media reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif cancelled a customary dinner with Ashton during Ashton’s visit to Tehran last week.

Last November, the P5+1 group and Iran reached an interim deal on Iran’s nuclear programme in Geneva, which came into effect Jan 20.

Under the deal, Iran suspended the most sensitive parts of its nuclear activities in exchange for partial relief of the West’s sanctions. The parties involved are also striving to clinch a comprehensive accord over the decade-long nuclear standoff.

IANS