Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany will open a new round of talks about Tehran’s nuclear energy program in Oman on November 11, a senior Iranian negotiator says.
“Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 will be held … a week on Tuesday in Muscat,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi told reporters on Sunday.
Ahead of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, US Secretary of State John Kerry and outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the six powers, will sit down for nuclear talks in Muscat on November 9 and 10.
“In the trilateral meeting between Zarif, Kerry and Ashton, the sides will discuss issues such as [level of uranium] enrichment and sanctions,” Araqchi said as a November 24 deadline for the talks approaches.
Iran and the P5+1 group — Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany — are in talks to work out a final deal aimed at ending the longstanding standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program before November 24.
In an interview with PBS television, Kerry expressed optimism about the nuclear talks.
“We have critical weeks ahead of us… I’m hopeful, but it’s a very tough negotiation,” Kerry said.
Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block in the way of resolving the Western dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program remains to be the removal of all the bans imposed on the country, and not the number of centrifuges or the level of uranium enrichment.
Tehran wants the sanctions entirely lifted while Washington, under pressure from the pro-Israeli lobby, insists that at least the UN-imposed sanctions should remain in place.