Geneva - Iran and world powers met Thursday to discuss how to implement a landmark deal aimed at containing Tehran’s nuclear drive, less than two weeks before the agreement is due to take effect.
Iranian, EU and US negotiators gathered in Geneva for their highest-level talks since hammering out the groundbreaking November 24 deal. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani also discussed the implementation of the accord in a phone conversation earlier in the day, according to the Kremlin.
Negotiators have said they want to implement the deal, which aims to rein in Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for some sanctions relief, by January 20. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced optimism ahead of the talks, but some observers warned of possible sticking points that could lead to a delay in rolling out the deal. Little information has filtered out about the Geneva talks, which were scheduled to continue Friday, but they were expected to focus heavily on the thorny issue of advanced centrifuges.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that nuclear negotiations with world powers had revealed US enmity towards the Islamic state.
Khamenei was speaking hours before the resumption of talks between Iran and the European Union in Geneva. “We had announced previously that on certain issues, if we feel it is expedient, we would negotiate with the Satan (the United States) to deter its evil,” Khamenei told a gathering, reported by the official IRNA news agency.
“The nuclear talks showed the enmity of America against Iran, Iranians, Islam and Muslims.” Iran and the EU hold talks in Geneva on Thursday to discuss the practical details of implementing a nuclear agreement reached in Geneva in November. US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman is also due to take part.
The Geneva deal was designed to halt Iran’s nuclear advances for six months to buy time for negotiations on a final settlement. Scope for diplomacy widened after Iran elected the pragmatic Hassan Rouhani as president in June. He had promised to reduce Tehran’s isolation and win an easing of sanctions.