Zarif not returning to Tehran: Iranian source


Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will not leave the nuclear talks with the P5+1 in Vienna to come to Iran for consultations, a source in the Iranian negotiating team says.

Earlier reports had suggested that Zarif, who is Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, may return to Tehran for consultations with “high-ranking officials.”

Responding to a question about reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry has put proposals on the negotiating table, the Iranian source said the reports are not true, according to IRNA.

“It’s been us who have offered various proposals since the Muscat talks up to now,” the source said, referring to the trilateral negotiations between Iran, the US and the EU held earlier in the Omani capital.

The ideas raised in the talks have not yet reached a level to make it necessary for Zarif to take them to Tehran, the source said, adding that the negotiations will thus continue.

Earlier, Zarif held fresh three-way talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU coordinator, Catherine Ashton, in Vienna.

The meeting was part of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany – to work out a final deal aimed at ending the longstanding standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius have joined the nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna.

Sources close to the Iranian negotiating team say the main stumbling block in the way of resolving the 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 Iran’s 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.

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