The meeting was held at the IAEA offices in Vienna and before the start of the fifth round of multilateral talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany).
Also reports from Vienna said that Iran and the G5+1 are due to hold an experts meeting this afternoon to discuss the technical aspects of the long-awaited final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.
The meeting will be headed by Hamid Baeidinejad, the director general for political and international affairs at Iran’s foreign ministry, and Stephen Clement, an aide to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Zarif and his accompanying team of negotiators arrived in Vienna Monday morning to participate in the fifth round of talks between Tehran and the six major world powers in the Austrian capital from June 16-20.
The Iranian delegation is led by Zarif. The talks started by a working luncheon between Zarif and Ashton followed by a trilateral meeting with the US delegation.
Iran and the world powers have said that they are resolved to start drafting a long-awaited final deal in this round of talks.
Upon arrival at Vienna airport, Zarif told reporters that Iran and the G5+1 have one month to reach a comprehensive deal and “if the other side is ready, we will (also) be prepared to draft the final agreement”.
“Whenever the other side is ready to enter talks seriously, there will be a possibility for reaching results,” he added.
Zarif also noted the fatwa (religious decree) issued by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei against the production and use of the nuclear weapons, and said it provides an “objective guarantee” to ensure the opposite sides that Iran’s nuclear program will remain peaceful.
His remarks came after senior Iranian and German diplomats in a meeting in Tehran on Sunday stressed the necessity for the seven nations to start drafting a final nuclear deal in this round of talks.
Following two hours of bilateral talks between senior Iranian and German negotiating teams in Tehran on Sunday afternoon, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi told FNA that the two sides exchanged views over the topics to be covered in the multilateral nuclear negotiations between Iran and the G5+1 in Vienna.
“These (bilateral) talks which were carried out on the verge of the next round of negotiations in Vienna were of special importance,” he said, and added, “During the talks, the two sides laid emphasis on the need to start drafting the text of the final deal in the negotiations.”
Araqchi, who is also Iran’s deputy lead negotiator, said the “consultations with Germany will continue in Vienna”.
In November 2013, Iran and the six world powers signed an interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva that came into force on January 20. The deadline for attaining a final deal is July 20.
Iran and the six world powers last met in their fourth round of talks in Vienna on May 14-16. Since the November deal, the seven nations have been discussing ways to iron out differences and start drafting a final deal that would end the West’s dispute with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.
After the May meeting, Iran said there has been no tangible progress in writing the draft text of the agreement and it blamed the US for the failure, saying Washington has made excessive demands beyond the agreements made in the previous rounds of talks.
Last week, Iran and the powers decided to hold a series of bilateral talks to narrow down their differences before the start of the multilateral negotiations in Vienna. Thus, the Iranian negotiating team had a series of bilateral talks with most of the members of the G5+1 during the last week.
Last Monday, representatives from Iran, EU and the United States had five hours of trilateral talks, followed by a bilateral meeting between the Iranian and American delegations in Geneva last Tuesday.
The Iranian team then met with the Russian negotiators, including Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, on the sidelines of the Disarmament Conference in Rome on Wednesday.
The Iranian diplomats who were headed by Araqchi and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi then met with the French for more than 3 hours of “useful talks in a positive atmosphere” in Geneva on Wednesday.
“These talks on the threshold of the upcoming Vienna negotiations were useful,” Araqchi told FNA on Wednesday.
He said that the two sides discussed issues related to the nuclear talks as Iran and the G5+1 are preparing for the next round of talks in the Austrian capital.
The French foreign ministry’s new political director Nicolas de Rivière, who has replaced the longtime lead negotiator and political director Jacques Audibert, was leading France’s negotiating team in the meeting.