Iran’s deputy chief negotiator Ali Baqeri and EU foreign policy deputy chief Helga Schmitt in a phone talk on Monday night agreed on a date for the next round of talks between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).
“Iran’s proposals for the time and venue of negotiations were announced to the G5+1 last week and Helga Schmitt, the deputy of EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, had a phone contact with Ali Baqeri, the deputy of (Iran’s top negotiator) Saeed Jalili, last night and they reached an agreement on the time of the negotiations,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast told reporters in Tehran today.
Yet, the spokesman declined to provide information on the date the talks between Jalili and Ashton.
Mehman-Parast said that Schmitt is also due to inform Tehran of the world powers’ response to Iran’s proposal for the venue of the talks as soon as possible.
Earlier this month, Jalili said that Tehran and the G5+1 would resume talks later in January.
Jalili told reporters in New Delhi that Tehran has agreed to a new round of talks this month.
“We have accepted that these talks should be held in January … but till now the details have not been finalized,” he said.
The talks would be the first high-level negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program since the negotiations in Moscow in June, offering at least the prospect of a thaw in a standoff that has grown increasingly tense in recent months.
Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Despite the rules enshrined in the NPT entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
Tehran has dismissed West’s demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians’ national resolve to continue the path.
Tehran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of IAEA’s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.