Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has left Tehran for New York to take part in a fresh round of negotiations with six major world powers over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
Zarif, who is the chief nuclear negotiator of the Islamic Republic in the nuclear talks, left Tehran early Tuesday.
A working lunch is expected on Wednesday between Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who leads the team from the six world powers engaged in talks with Tehran.
Bilateral meetings are also planned to be held between Iran and the members of the P5+1 group of world countries Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.
The seventh round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany, which aim to narrow the remaining gaps and finalize a nuclear deal between the two sides, will officially begin on Thursday.
The new round of negotiations will be held on the sidelines of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and the Iranian foreign minister is scheduled to attend the UN meeting.
Last week, senior Iranian negotiator Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi said Tehran and six world powers remain divided over key issues in the nuclear negotiations.
Last November, Tehran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – signed an interim deal in Geneva, which took effect on January 20 and expired six months later. In July, Iran and the six countries agreed to extend negotiations until November 24 after they failed to reach common ground on a number of key issues.