Vienna to host next round of nuclear talks

TEHRAN — The next round of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran is scheduled for next week in Vienna, as the two sides begin to address the issues they left unresolved earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland, and try to conclude a comprehensive agreement by the end of June, the New York Times reported. 

The European Union, the host of the talks, said in a statement released on Thursday that its senior negotiator, Helga Schmid, will meet with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi on Wednesday, to pursue an agreement that would restrict Iran to peaceful research in the nuclear area in exchange for the phased lifting of economic sanctions.

After the parties reached a framework agreement in Lausanne, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei emphasized that all sanctions would have to be lifted immediately and that all military sites would be off limits to inspectors.

President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday acknowledged the problems but said he remained optimistic that the negotiators would reach a deal. “There is a difficult path ahead of us towards the final deal,” he said at a news conference during a trip to northern Iran, but the country’s “will and decision is to continue the negotiations until a final deal is reached.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham also announced that a fresh round of nuclear meeting between Iran and the world powers will be held on Wednesday to discuss the details of a possible comprehensive nuclear deal.

It is possible that the deputy-level and expert-level meetings will be held next Wednesday, she said, adding that however the venue has not been decide on yet, Xinhua reported.

In the next meeting, representatives from Iran and the world powers will bring with themselves preliminary drafts to work on, she said, adding that in the drafts there are numerous blank spaces as well as bracketed words or phrases which require discussions.

Afkham also said that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who will attend an NPT summit in New York on April 27, may hold nuclear talks with the foreign ministers of P5+1 group, namely the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia plus Germany.

A delegation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is a UN body to confirm peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities, also held talks in Tehran on Wednesday with Iranian officials on the two remaining questions about Iran’s nuclear program.