Technical talks will resume on Thursday on implementation of the November 24 interim nuclear deal between Iran and the 5+1 Powers.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s lead negotiator, said the expert talks were set for two days but may continue into Saturday and Sunday.
The first set of technical talks, lasting four days in Vienna, was held last week. Issues included Iran’s suspension of enrichment of 20% uranium and the easing of US-led sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency also visited Tehran last week, discussing issues such as the inspection of the Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor, due to be completed in late 2014.
The Vienna talks were overtaken by public friction over the US Treasury’s addition of 19 Iranian companies and individuals to a blacklist for supporting Tehran’s nuclear program.
However, at the weekend, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif assured that the implementation of the interim agreement will continue. The Supreme Leader’s senior advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, offered support on Tuesday, saying that “the conditions are certainly provided” for a final agreement.
Appearing on State TV last night, Foreign Minister Zarif said the continuation of the talks was defeating Israel’s “Iranophobia” campaign, which had tried to undermine the interim agreement through pressure on Washington: “The Islamic republic will continue the path…because we believe that our nuclear program is completely peaceful and those who have created threats are the threats themselves.”
Picture: European MPs Meet Human Rights Prize Winners Sotoudeh & Panahi
An European Parliamentary delegation met Sakharov Prize winners Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi in Tehran this week.
Lawyer Sotoudeh and film director Panahi were given the award in 2012 for their contributions to freedom of thought. Neither could accept in person at the time — Sotoudeh was serving a six-year prison sentence and Panahi, given a six-year term, was under effective house arrest.
— Fahimn (@fahimn) December 18, 2013
Sunni Insurgents Jaish ul-Adl Claim Responsibility for Attack Killing 3 IRGC Personnel
Three members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have been killed by insurgents in Saravan in Sistan Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran.
A provincial official said the engineers were killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.
The Sunni insurgency Jaish ul-Adl claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group has stepped up its campaign against Iranian security forces since the autumn, killing 14 border guards in one attack in late October.