Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and US Secretary of State John Kerry have begun talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
Nothing has yet come out on the agenda of the Wednesday meeting, but the participants are expected to discuss obstacles in the way of a final agreement aimed at ending the longstanding dispute over Iran’s civilian nuclear work.
Zarif, who heads the Iranian negotiating team in nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany, arrived in Vienna on Tuesday.
He met with Ashton, who represents the six world powers in the talks over Iran’s nuclear energy program, on Tuesday, to discuss preliminaries for continuing the nuclear talks.
Also on Tuesday, Zarif’s deputies held meetings with their US and European counterparts for technical talks.
Iran will meet the representatives of the six world powers in Vienna on Thursday to discuss outstanding issues related to Tehran’s nuclear program.
Zarif has said that the Thursday talks will be attended by “political directors” from the P5+1 group as part of efforts to find “common ground.”
According to the top Iranian diplomat, talks with all members of the P5+1 group are scheduled upon a request by Iran.
“It was the Islamic Republic of Iran’s request that in addition to talks with Ms. Ashton and the US, we have negotiations with all members of the P5+1 group. Therefore, the talks have extended to Thursday, which indicates political will on all sides [to the talks],” he added.
Iran and its negotiating partners have a deadline of November 24 to clinch a final accord and end the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy activities.