Kerry and Zarif to Meet to 'Speed Up' Talks

Iran and the United States to explore ways to give impetus to nuclear talks in a meeting in Geneva on Wednesday.

Ben Ariel,

Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Reuters

Iran and the United States will explore ways to give impetus to nuclear talks when their chief diplomats meet in Geneva on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will confer ahead of a fresh round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers on settling their 12-year stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Lower-level negotiators on both sides will meet at the same venue on Thursday to iron out technical details ahead of negotiations on January 18 between Iran and so-called "P5+1" - the United States, France, Germany, Russia, China and Britain.

Speaking at a Tehran news conference on Sunday, Zarif said the purpose of the talks with Kerry "is to see if we can speed up and push the negotiations forward".

"We will see how useful it will turn out. We are constantly gauging the benefits," he told reporters.

Zarif said the talks with Kerry "will remain confined to the margins of the nuclear negotiations".

"Talks with the U.S. take on a peculiar hue because we don't have diplomatic relations. With the others in P5+1, things follow their routine course," he added.

Tehran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations have been locked in talks since February on a permanent nuclear deal aimed at ending a decade-long diplomatic crisis.

Despite making progress, the two sides failed to clinch a definitive deal by a November deadline and agreed to extend the talks for another seven months.

Another inconclusive round of negotiations was held in Geneva between Iranian officials and the six powers in December. Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, said following those talks that they had been "very useful and helpful".

Before the talks were extended, Iran had been toughening its stance, with Araqchi saying he sees no prospect for a deal unless the other side abandons its “illogical excessive demands”.

A senior Iranian official followed those comments by declaring that Iran will demand that all Western sanctions be lifted as part of a final deal, rejecting an American proposal of a gradual lifting of sanctions.




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