Iran and West to Hold More Talks Before UN General Assembly
Iran and six world powers will hold a new round of nuclear talks before the UN General Assembly, which starts on September 16, a spokesman for lead negotiator Catherine Ashton said Thursday, according to AFP.
"We expect to hold an EU-led/E3+3 round of talks in advance of the ministerial meetings at UNGA at a location to be determined," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Ashton.
"We will also likely hold a meeting on the sidelines of UNGA - as we did last year - possibly with ministers participating in some way," Mann said in an emailed statement.
"The specific details remain to be worked out," he added.
Iran and the six powers are trying to turn an interim nuclear deal reached in November into a permanent agreement.
The sides recently committed to a four-month negotiating extension through November 24, after they were unable to reach a permanent deal by a July 20 deadline.
The accord is aimed at easing fears once and for all that the Islamic republic might use its civilian nuclear program to build an atomic bomb, something Tehran has always denied.
U.S. and Iranian officials met in Geneva Thursday for one-on-one talks, the State Department said.
A deal could see the lifting of oil and trade sanctions on Iran, which seems to have toughened its position. Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently said Iran "needs" 19 times more nuclear centrifuges than the amount being offered by world powers.
Iranian nuclear agency head Ali Akbar Salehi echoed Khamenei’s remarks, saying Iran wants to greatly expand its uranium enrichment program despite Western fears that it could be used to make atomic arms.