Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif poses just before entering a meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany over Iran's nuclear program September 26, 2013
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif poses just before entering a meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany over Iran's nuclear program September 26, 2013. © Stan Honda - AFP/File
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif poses just before entering a meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany over Iran's nuclear program September 26, 2013
AFP
Last updated: October 11, 2013

Iran wants P5+1 top diplomats at nuclear talks

Iran wants the six world powers negotiating over its controversial nuclear drive to send top diplomats to crunch talks in Geneva next week, the official news agency IRNA reported Friday.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to lead Iran's nuclear team at a new round of negotiations with the so-called P5+1 group of the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany on October 15 and 16.

But Zarif "will attend only the opening session on Tuesday and the rest of the talks will be held between deputies if the six (world powers) are not represented at the level of foreign ministers," IRNA said, quoting a source in Iran's nuclear team.

Abbas Araqchi, a deputy foreign minister who was also a member of the nuclear team under ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will then lead Iran's delegation at the Geneva meetings, it said.

Zarif will remain in the Swiss city for the duration of the talks, it added.

According to the report, Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton -- who represents the P5+1 in the talks -- will meet on Monday evening at a dinner.

This will be the first round of negotiations since moderate Hassan Rouhani took office as Iran's president in August with a pledge to engage the world constructively and resolve the decade-long showdown over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The last meeting between Iran and the P5+1 in the Kazakh city of Almaty ended with an impasse in April.

Western countries, along with Israel, suspect Iran's nuclear activities are aimed at military objectives, a claim Tehran vehemently denies.

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