Iran and world powers are likely to meet “next week” to discuss implementation of a hard-fought deal they clinched on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, Iran’s lead negotiator said Sunday.
The breakthrough accord struck on November 24 between Iran and the P5+1 — the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany — foresees Tehran rolling back some of its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
The freeze is meant to make it more difficult for Iran to develop a “breakout” capability to quickly build a nuclear weapon, and the interim accord aims to build confidence while Tehran and the P5+1 hammer out a comprehensive agreement.
“Possibly our experts will hold a meeting next week in Vienna or Geneva to review the details of implementing the agreement,” state broadcaster IRIB quoted deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s lead negotiator in the talks, as saying.
He added that the first phase of the accord, which will be in force for six months, will be implemented once the finer details have been thrashed out.
Tehran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Reza Najafi, indicated on Friday that Iran’s six-month freeze of its nuclear programme would start by early January.
Araqchi gave no date for the next round of talks but the ISNA news agency, citing an Iranian official, said political directors of the countries involved were expected to meet with IAEA officials in Vienna on December 9 and 10.
“The goal of that meeting is to set a date for the inspection (by IAEA experts) of the Gachin (uranium) mine in Bandar Abbas province and the implementation of four other articles of the agreement,” the unnamed official said.
Western nations and Israel have long suspected Iran of covertly seeking a nuclear weapons capability, charges denied by Tehran, which insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.