Zarif, Ashton Start 4th Meeting

Zarif, Ashton Start 4th Meeting

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton started a fourth meeting on Friday morning.
The two officials had a meeting on Wednesday and two more on Thursday. The second meeting held Thursday morning lasted for three hours.

The two sides are still negotiating on the framework and not the contents and terms of a possible deal.

After a very probable deal on the third day of the last round of talks in Geneva (November 7-9) suddenly changed course to a failure due to the negative stances of France, Iran now wants the other side to gurantee that all the six world powers involved in the talks would have a single voice and avoid doing the same if chance arise for stiking a deal again.

After three bilateral meetings with Ashton, Iran’s foreign minister told reporters on Thursday afternoon that “we had good discussions and started talks over details”.

“But there are still different viewpoints,” he added.

His deputy Seyed Abbas Araqchi also in similar remarks, said, “The negotiations were serious and good, although there are still differences.”

After the second session with Ashton on Thursday morning, Zarif described the meeting with Ashton as good, but said the two sides still have differences in their views.

Sources close to the negotiators said that if the talks between Zarif and Ashton yield results, talks on the text of an agreement between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, Britain, France and China plus Germany) will start.

After his first bilateral meeting with the EU foreign policy chief on Wednesda, Zarif said, “We talked about the trend of negotiations between Iran and the G5+1.”

“We had a good conversation and discussed the ways we could continue this trend during these days of negotiations,” the top Iranian nuclear negotiator stated.

Zarif’s deputy, Araqchi, announced this morning that after the last time the chances for working out a deal were ruined, now Iran wants guarantees that this won’t happen again.

A major part of the Zarif-Ashton meetings in the last two days has apparently been dedicated to this issue until Araqchi came to the media to say that the three European countries (France, Germany and Britain) attending talks with Tehran as well as the US, China and Russia have assured Iran that they have come to the new round of talks in Geneva with a united position, unlike the previous round of negotiations which was spoiled by France’s negative approach.

“The three (European) countries underlined that they enjoy the necessary and efficient resolve to further promote the negotiations and reach understanding and they explained about the events in the previous round (of talks, which prevented an agreement),” Araqchi said in a press conference in Geneva on Thursday morning.

He described his Wednesday night meeting with the representatives of the world powers as constructive, and said, “All the three European countries assured us last night that they have a united position and the American side also assured that it has the same position as the three European countries… Russia and China have also given us similar assurances.”

Araqchi said that it seems the differences on the methods to implement the contents of the negotiations which existed between Iran and the G5+1 have been obviated in this round of the talks, and added, “If we feel that the problems have been removed and we can trust progress in the negotiations,” then Iran will trust the other side to continue the talks.

The last round of talks between Iran and the five permanent UN Security Council members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – plus Germany, was held for three days in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 7-9.

The two sides did not reach an agreement but stressed that significant progress had been made and expressed optimism about the prospect of a possible deal in the future.

The deal was very probable last time, but it failed after the French suddently changed course and stood against it.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who was not invited to the Geneva talks, called EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urging that he needs to be present there. Surprised Ashton was then forced to call in British and German foreign ministers to the talks as well.

Fabius appeared on several media and warned that Israel’s “concerns” must be taken into consideration.

“It is necessary to take fully into account Israel’s security concerns and those of the region,” Fabius told France Inter radio in Geneva early on November 9 at the beginning of the third day of talks between Iran and the world powers.

His remarks and negative position made the Iranian and the world powers diplomats to end the talks without any agreement and decide to meet again in Geneva on November 20 and 21.

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