LATEST: Foreign Ministry Protests Euro MPs Meeting with Ex-Political Prisoners Sotoudeh & Panahi

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the 5+1 Powers on Sunday to avoid “troublemaking” issues, amid signs of tension in expert-level talks over the interim nuclear deal with Tehran.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, Zarif said,
“I hope all sides will avoid delving into issues that could become troublesome and complicate the process,” adding that the technical talks in Geneva were proceeding “slowly”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told State TV that there were “incorrect interpretations” in settling a protocol to implement the deal, suggesting there might need to be a “pause in the talks”.

Zarif was expected to talk Sunday with the European Union’s Catherine Ashton, the lead negotatiator for the 5+1 Powers.

Araqchi had broken the silence about the technical talks on the interim nuclear agreement on Saturday, saying there had been little progress in the discussions between experts of Iran and the 5+1 Powers.

The talks, in their fourth day, are trying to establishment implementation of the November 24 deal. Issues include Iran’s suspension of enrichment of uranium to 20% and the start of relaxation of US-led sanctions on Tehran.

Foreign Ministry Protests Euro MPs Meeting with Ex-Political Prisoners Sotoudeh & Panahi

Tehran has stepped up its criticism of last week’s meeting between European MPs and former political prisoners Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi, with the Foreign Ministry summoning the Greek charge d’affaires.

The European delegation visited human rights lawyer Sotoudeh and award-winning film director Panahi to recognize the award of the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to them.

Neither could attend the awards ceremony last year. Sotoudeh was serving a six-year sentence for her work, while Panahi, given a six-year term, was under effective house arrest.