Foreign ministers of the P5+1 group are reportedly expected to join the ongoing talks on Iran’s nuclear energy program in Vienna.
The Wall Street Journal quoted three diplomats as saying on Wednesday that foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China – plus Germany are likely to arrive in the Austrian capital as early as Friday.
The report also said that US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is currently in Asia, may travel to Vienna over the weekend. Iran’s Foreign Minster Mohammad Javad Zarif is already in the Austrian capital, heading the Iranian delegation.
Meanwhile, Michael Mann, spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said on Wednesday that Ashton “is thinking about when to engage ministers as we move forward but no decisions have been made as yet,” adding “It would be an opportunity for them to take stock of where we are in the process.”
France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also told French lawmakers on Tuesday that the US has asked foreign ministers from the six countries to join the nuclear talks in Vienna.
On July 3, Iran and the six countries formally kicked off their sixth round of nuclear talks this year to discuss a permanent accord on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
The two sides have been discussing ways to iron out their differences and achieve a final deal that would end the decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear energy program.
According to Western diplomats, Iran’s uranium enrichment issue remains a bone of contention between Tehran and the six countries.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said on Tuesday that Iran currently needs 190,000 Separative Work Units (SWU) to provide the fuel needed annually for the country’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in the next eight years. The capacity of each centrifuge in enrichment is measured by SWU.