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Iran, World Powers Hold Fresh Talks In Geneva

January 18, 2015
by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

GENEVA -- Iran and world powers began a new round of talks in Geneva to discuss Tehran's nuclear program.

Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city on January 18.

Chinese envoy Wang Qun, speaking to reporters before the start of the talks, said he hoped that 'all parties will seize that historical opportunity by racing against the time.'

American and Iranian negotiators have been working on a draft document to speed up the talks.

The document is called the Principles of Agreement and is part of the framework agreement that Iran and world powers have sought to complete by March, Al Monitor reported.

Qun told RFE/RL's Radio Farda in Geneva that an agreement on principles was more important than a document.

'What is more important is meeting of minds, format -- comparatively speaking -- is secondary, though it is absolutely logical and absolutely inevitable at a certain stage if an agreement is to be brought about,' Qun said.

The negotiations in Geneva, held at the level of political directors, are the culmination of five days of talks in the Swiss city and Paris, including lengthy meetings between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Ali Vaez, a senior Iran analyst at International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based think tank that is monitoring the talks in Geneva, told RFE/RL that the sides are working on 'an advanced version of what the JPOA [Joint Plan Of Action] refers to as the endstate.'

Vaez said reaching an agreement on the principles at the January 18 talks would represent an 'impressive achievement.'

But he said given the absence of Zarif and Catherine Ashton, the EU envoy to the nuclear talks, it was unlikely to be presented.

U.S. lawmakers have proposed imposing new sanctions against Iran if no agreement is reached over Tehran's nuclear program by June 30.

But U.S. President Barack Obama on January 16 asked Congress to refrain from imposing fresh sanctions, saying he will veto such a bill while negotiations are continuing.

The talks are aimed at limiting Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.

Reporting by Hannah Kaviani of RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Reuters, and Al Monitor​


Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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