Iran and six world powers held “substantive and useful” expert-level talks over Tehran’s nuclear program this week, they said on Friday, ahead of a new round of political negotiations later this month.
Seeking to build on an interim agreement reached late last year in Geneva, Iran and the major powers aim to hammer out a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over the Islamic Republic’s atomic activities by late July.
Both sides have made clear their political will to reach a long-term accord and have scheduled a series of meetings in the coming months. However, they also acknowledge that there are still big differences over the future scope of Iran’s nuclear program and that success is far from guaranteed.
This week’s talks from Wednesday at the UN complex in Vienna, which ended around midday on Friday, were to prepare for the next meeting of chief negotiators due to start on March 18, also in the Austrian capital.
“The talks are very serious and substantive and useful,” the head of the Iranian delegation at the expert-level talks, senior Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Hamid Baidinejad told Iran’s Fars news agency ahead of Friday’s session.
He later told the official IRNA news agency that “the result will be conveyed to capitals,” but gave no details.
In Brussels, EU High Representative for Security Affairs and Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton said: “I can confirm that the technical talks are over, they were substantive and useful.”
Ashton is coordinating negotiations with Iran on behalf of the powers — the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China — and EU experts took part in the meeting.