Brussels: Tehran will resume negotiations with world powers over its nuclear programme in the coming days, Iran’s chief negotiator told a Belgian newspaper Tuesday, after a meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief.
Iran broke off previous talks after Washington expanded its Iranian sanctions blacklist despite an interim deal reached in Geneva on curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for some sanctions relief.
But on Tuesday, Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqhchi told daily Soir that the EU’s Catherine Ashton had assured him that world powers remained committed to implementing the interim deal.
“On the basis of these explanations, we have decided to resume technical negotiations in Vienna,” said Araqhchi.
“We are trying at the moment to coordinate a date for that and we will start the negotiations in Vienna soon. It’s a question of days,” he added.
Under the Geneva deal, Iran agreed that it would freeze parts of its contested nuclear programme in return for some relief from Western sanctions as it negotiates a comprehensive accord to allay suspicions that it is seeking the atomic bomb.
The United States also agreed to refrain from slapping new sanctions on Iran.
But last week, Washington blacklisted a dozen overseas companies and individuals for evading its sanctions imposed on Iran to halt what the West sees as its bid to build a nuclear bomb.
Senior US officials argued the move was taken under an existing sanctions regime.
But the measures angered Tehran and prompted its negotiating team to withdraw from the talks in Vienna.
On Tuesday, Araqhchi said the US move remains of “serious concern, it’s against the spirit of the deal”.
“We agreed to move on the basis of good will and good faith. And to add these new companies to the list of sanctions, it’s not goodwill,” he said.