Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme are set to begin next month in Switzerland. The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who chaired a meeting between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany on Thursday, announced the news in New York.
She said: “It was a substantial meeting. Good atmosphere, energetic. We had a discussion about how we will go forward with an ambitious time frame to see whether we can make progress quickly. I am pleased that we have agreed that we meet in Geneva on October 15 and 16.”
Diplomats from the major countries have described the atmosphere of the talks as positive, however stressed the difficulty of resolving the long running dispute. The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif made it clear the country wants first and foremost.
“Of course as we move forward there has to be a removal of sanctions and in the end game there has to be a total lifting of all sanctions and both bilateral sanctions, unilateral sanctions as well as multilateral sanctions and UN sanctions.”
The meeting also marked the first “official” high-level encounter between the United States and Iran in over three decades as US secretary of state, John Kerry, sat next to the Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, however there have been less formal interactions in the past ten years.