Drafting comprehensive nuclear deal begins in Vienna

369860_Javad-ZarifRepresentatives of Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have started drafting the text of a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and Helga Schmid, a deputy for EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, started drafting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Friday afternoon, IRNA reported.

The two sides were previously scheduled to begin drafting the deal in the morning, but they agreed to adjourn the meeting for further consultations.

Before the afternoon meeting, Araqchi and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns held a one-on-one meeting for consultation over the draft of a final accord.

The meeting was reportedly held at Palais Coburg in the Austrian capital, where Iran and the six countries – the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany – formally kicked off the sixth round of nuclear talks on Thursday to discuss a permanent accord.

Iran and the six countries have been discussing ways to iron out differences and achieve a final deal that would end the decade-old dispute over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

The two sides inked an interim accord in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 23, 2013. Under the deal, the six countries agreed to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. The deal came into force in January and expires on July 20 but can be extended depending on the agreement of all parties involved.

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