Saturday 25 February 2017

Second round of Iran talks planned

George Jahn in Geneva

Iran and six world powers ended talks inconclusively yesterday with an agreement to reconvene early next year.

No definitive agreement was reached but Tehran indicated it may be willing to address concerns about its nuclear programme.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that unless the six lift UN sanctions they face failure in the next round.

Diplomats from delegations at the table with Iran said Tehran made no commitments to talking about UN Security Council demands that the country freeze uranium enrichment -- which has both civilian and military uses. "We didn't get anywhere on substance," said one of the officials. "It was an exchange of views."

Dampen

In a similarly sober assessment, a senior US administration official said: "Our expectations for these talks were low, and they were never exceeded."

Iran's chief negotiator, Saed Jalili, also sought to dampen expectations. "I am telling you clearly and openly that halting uranium enrichment will not be discussed at the Istanbul meeting," he said.

But the diplomats said Mr Jalili did not object when the six powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- brought up concern over enrichment during the two days of talks.

The fact that the Iranians did not dismiss such international worries led to the decision to agree to a second round, said the three officials, who asked for anonymity because the information was confidential.

"We are encouraged that there will be a follow-on meeting" in January, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said in Washington.

He said that although there was no formal one-on-one meeting between the US and Iran, the two sides had a "brief, informal" talk on topics he did not specify.

Irish Independent

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