Iranian Nuclear Program Talks Start in ViennaWorld | February 18, 2014, Tuesday // 16:58| views
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) take part in a meeting at Austria Center Vienna, Austria, 18 February 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Talks have begun in Vienna over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
The aim of the 3-day meeting is to discuss and, if possible, build on a deal that would curb Tehran's enrichment and at the same time relieve some of the sanctions against the country.
Iran denies the allegations made by the six world powers that participate in the talks - the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany (the former 5 are members of the UN Security Council) - who accuse the Islamic Republic of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran maintains it uses uranium only for peaceful purposes.
The six world powers insist that the country should scale back its sensitive nuclear activities in order to guarantee that no weapon could be created. They have not expressed optimism at the result of the talks, the BBC reports.
Iran, on the other hand, firmly believes a positive outcome of the negotiations is possible even though there is no prospect of a quick breakthrough, as its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif assured Baroness Ashton on Monday.
Through the negotiation process Iran has been subjected to some restrictions in its program, e.g. to halt production of near 20% enriched uranium and to submit to daily inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Some of the sanctions against the country have been eased in return.
Presently, however, the deal is only provisional.
The 5+1 negotiations are scheduled to conclude in November, when the six countries hope to begin with the implementing part of the deal.
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