The next round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers will take place in Vienna on June 16-20, senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi was reported as saying by the IRNA official state news agency.
There were no further details in the agency’s report late on Saturday about the planned discussions, which are aimed at ending a decade-old standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
The announcement came as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Sunday that clinching a final nuclear deal with world powers is still “possible” despite a tough round of talks this week.
“Agreement is possible. But illusions need to go. Opportunity shouldn’t be missed again like in 2005,” Zarif said on Twitter, referring to Iran’s long-stalled dispute with world powers over its suspect nuclear program.
Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful aims such as power generation and medicine. The West and Israel – the Middle East only, if undeclared, nuclear power – claim it is a cover for acquiring the capability to make nuclear weapons.
The latest round of negotiations in Vienna last week resulted in little progress.
The six powers want Iran to agree to scale back uranium enrichment and other sensitive nuclear activity and accept more rigorous UN inspections to deny it any capability of quickly producing atomic bombs, in exchange for an end to sanctions.
In a related development, Iranian media reported that an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation would visit Tehran on Monday to discuss Iran’s nuclear work.
In Vienna, there was no immediate IAEA comment, but diplomatic sources on Friday said a meeting early this week was expected. Iran has offered to work with the IAEA in clarifying what the UN agency calls the possible military dimensions of the country’s nuclear program.
The talks between Iran and the nuclear watchdog will last one day and “will summarize the 13 measures that Iran has taken in different forms during its cooperation with the agency,” Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.
The IAEA-Iran talks are separate from those between Tehran and six world powers – the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia – aimed at reaching a broader deal to settle the decade-old nuclear dispute by July 20.
But they are complementary, as both focus on fears that Iran may covertly be seeking the means and expertise to assemble nuclear weapons.
(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)