Russia Urges Iran, Powers to Accelerate Efforts to Reach N. Deal
(FNA)- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov underlined good progress in the talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) in Vienna, and called on the two sides to increase their efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement.
"We have progressed quite well, the atmosphere is very good, and the work is business-like and result-oriented,” Riyabkov was quoted as saying by Russia's Interfax news agency from the Austrian capital of Vienna on Thursday.
The Russian diplomat also urged the negotiators in the talks to step up their efforts "specially as concerns the search for practical solutions and decisions rather than just elaborating approaches and airing some technical, political, or organizational details of what we are doing now."
"We should simply focus on looking for a basis for a compromise in all areas," Ryabkov said.
He listed the issue of easing sanctions against Iran, prospects of uranium enrichment activities in the Islamic Republic, prospects of the development of peaceful nuclear cooperation with Tehran, and the future of a heavy-water reactor in Arak as the pivots of the recent round of talks, wrapped up in Vienna on Wednesday.
"This discussion has assumed a very serious dimension at the political level... and the degree to which each of these four sets of issues was elaborated was unprecedented," Ryabkov said.
His remarks came as Iran and the G5+1's representatives ended their two-day negotiations in Vienna on Wednesday.
On November 24, Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over the latter's nuclear energy program.
In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of the world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and impose no nuclear-related sanctions on Iran during the six-month period.
After the two sides wrapped up their Wednesday meeting in Vienna, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that Iran and the six world powers have still a difficult way ahead before striking a comprehensive deal over the former's nuclear activities, but meantime said today's talks showed promising signs.
"On four topics (Arak heavy water reactor, removal of sanctions, nuclear cooperation and uranium enrichment) we see signs of reaching an understanding which will protect the rights of the Iranian nation and move towards removal of problems," Zarif told reporters after a meeting with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton following two days of talks between Iranian negotiators and their counterparts from the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).
He assured that in case of good will and political resolve, Iran and the sextet can attain a final, comprehensive agreement and then work on its implementation to end their decade-long nuclear standoff.
Responding to FNA's question about the issues to be covered in the upcoming talks between the senior negotiators of the seven nations in Vienna on April 7-9, the Iranian foreign minister said that "Iran's access to (nuclear) technology, trade market and banking resources as well as the manner of inspections (of Iran's nuclear facilities) and the period of time needed for the final phase will be discussed in the next meeting."
Zarif said "the main goal is normalizing Iran's case similar to every other member state of the NPT" (nuclear non-proliferation treaty).
He said during the recent talks, the six world powers have grasped a better understanding of Iran's objectives for developing nuclear technology and now seemed to be convinced of Iran's civilian drive.
Asked about the operation of Arak heavy water reactor which has been the focus of a part of the recent talks between Iran and the six world powers, he said the powers have now realized that Iran would never accept dismantlement or closure of any of its nuclear facilities and activities, "and I think the opposite party has realized this reality and will cope with it".
Ashton also hailed the two days of talks with Iran as "positive and constructive".
Speaking with reporters after two days of negotiations with Zarif and other members of the Iranian team on Wednesday, Ashton said the multifaceted talks focused on Iran's enrichment program, the heavy water reactor in the Central city of Arak, civil nuclear cooperation with Iran and the western sanctions against Tehran.
She said that Iran and the Group 5+1 will try to address major issues in their negotiations, and announced that the two sides' experts will meet in the near future.
According to Zarif, experts of the seven nations will convene in Vienna on April 3 to 5 and then the top negotiators of Iran and the world powers will meet for another round of talks on April 7 to 9.