Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi and EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmidt are due to hold a decisive meeting in Geneva on Thursday and Friday.
The meeting between Araqchi and Schmidt will be held to finalize the expert and implementation stages of the Geneva agreement after the experts talks were held in Geneva between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany).
Foreign ministry officials in Tehran announced on Friday that the timeline for the implementation of the November nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers will be set after an upcoming meeting between senior Iranian and EU negotiators.
“The exact date for the implementation of the Geneva agreement will be after the upcoming meeting between EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmidt and Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi,” Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator in talks with the world powers Majid Takht Ravanchi said.
Takht Ravanchi pointed to the progress in the Iran-Group 5+1 talks, and said, “Iran’s technical nuclear talks with the Sextet is almost complete and there remain a couple of issues which need to be decided by the two sides’ politicians.”
Takht Ravanchi underlined that these remaining technical matters would be resolved during the upcoming bilateral talks between Araqchi and Schmidt.
On November 24, Iran and the Group 5+1 sealed the six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and continue talks with the country to settle all problems between the two sides.
Iran and the six world powers ended a third round of expert-level talks in Geneva, Switzerland, last Tuesday in a bid to devise mechanisms to implement the interim nuclear deal struck in November.
Hamid Baeidinejad, the director general for political and international affairs at Iran’s Foreign Ministry, led the Iranian delegation which includes experts from nuclear, banking, oil and transportation sectors. Stephen Clement, who is an aide to EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, headed experts team of the six world powers.
During a phone conversation on December 22, Iran's Foreign Minister and top negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU's Ashton, who heads the world powers’ delegations in the talks with Tehran, decided to continue the negotiations between their experts after Christmas.
In December, Iran and the six world powers held four days of talks in Geneva. The first experts meeting was held in Vienna, Austria, on December 9.
The Vienna negotiations among experts were scheduled to continue until December 13, but the Iranian negotiators cut short the talks and returned to Iran in protest at the US breach of the Geneva agreement by blacklisting a dozen companies and individuals for evading Washington’s sanctions.
US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to soothe Tehran’s anger over Washington’s fresh sanctions in a phone call to Zarif in December.
After the US breached the deal, Zarif deplored the move, and said Tehran would show a well-assessed and goal-oriented reaction to any measure adopted by the world powers in violation of the deal.
“The Americans have taken improper measures in the last few days and we have given the appropriate response to them after considering all aspects of the issue,” Zarif said.
He stressed that Tehran is seriously pursuing the Geneva negotiations with the G5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), “and we will, of course, show proper, well-assessed, targeted and smart reaction to any improper and unconstructive measure (of the opposite side even if it doesn’t violate the Geneva agreement)”.
The expert meetings are held to devise mechanisms to implement the Geneva deal.