Iran starts separate nuclear talks with powers

*Iranian Foreign Ministry says talks with US limited to nuclear issue

TEHRAN: Iran has started its separate intensive nuclear talks with the members of P5+1 group “to make much of time” and “to narrow down the gaps between the sides,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said here on Wednesday.
The purpose of the talks is to make much of the time before the upcoming high-level negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany - - which will begin in Vienna next week, the spokeswoman said at her weekly press briefing.
Over the past two days, Iran and the U.S. negotiators held talks over Iran’s nuclear issue, Afkham said, adding that “the talks were entirely focused on Iran’s nuclear issue as they were plain, transparent and serious.”
“I think, accepting realities is the main component of ongoing trend (vis-a-vis Iran’s nuclear program), and the negotiating sides should move in a direction to make tough decisions so that Iran’s nuclear rights could be respected and established,” she said.
Iran and the United States still disagree on key issues concerning the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, but the atmosphere of the discussion was “positive,” Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said after two days of direct talks between Iranian and U.S. negotiators concluded in Geneva on Tuesday. 
“We had good exchange of views, which was helpful before the next round of (high-level) nuclear talks in Vienna,” Araqchi said. 
“The talks were intensive and difficult but were conducted in a positive atmosphere,” he was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency. “In spite of good exchange of views, differences still remain,” he added. A new round of high-ranking nuclear meetings between the Islamic republic and major world powers will be held in Vienna next Monday. 
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday described the recent talks with Washington as “explicit, transparent and serious”, and reiterated that the two sides discussed no other issues than Tehran’s nuclear case. “The recent talks with the US have only taken place within the framework of the nuclear talks and nothing else outside this framework, and this has been announced explicitly and transparently,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham told reporters in Tehran today.
“The talks were explicit, transparent and serious and (Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator) Mr. (Seyed Abbas) Araqchi has described the talks fruitful,” she added. Afkham said that the Iranian team of negotiators will hold similar meetings with the French delegation in Geneva today and with the Russian team in Rome on Thursday, stressing that Iran’s goals and priority in these meetings is “establishing its nuclear rights”. In relevant remarks on Tuesday night, Araqchi said his recent talks with US diplomats in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program were “tough, intensive and positive”.
“The atmosphere ruling the talks was positive and constructive and the nuclear issues were discussed,” Araqchi told FNA last night after the end of the second day of his negotiations with the US and EU diplomats at Hotel President Wilson in Geneva.
“The talks were intensive and hard but they were held in a positive atmosphere,” he added. Meantime, Araqchi underlined that the differences between the two sides still exist and therefore, consultations would continue. The Iranian and US officials met on Monday and Tuesday on the threshold of high-profile meetings between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) due to be held in Vienna on June 16 to 20.
Araqchi expressed the hope that in the upcoming talks in Vienna, Iran and the world powers could start drafting a comprehensive and final deal as envisaged in the Geneva interim agreement inked in November.  

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