Iran said Friday that talks in Geneva with the group of six world powers had resolved all outstanding issues on how to carry out an agreement reached in November that would temporarily halt some of Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Iran’s state television quoted Abbas Araghchi, the deputy foreign minister and deputy nuclear negotiator, as saying that the agreement would now need final approval from all the governments: Iran and the P5-plus-1 countries — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, which are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany.
Araghchi was quoted as saying that “we found solutions for all the points of disagreements, but the implementation of the Geneva agreement depends on the final ratification of the capitals.”
Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Araghchi as saying that an official announcement on the date for implementing the agreement would come in the next few days. Officials have said privately that it is Jan. 20.
A spokesman for the P5-plus-1 side of the talks, represented by Helga Schmid, deputy to the lead negotiator, Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s top foreign policy official, issued an e-mailed statement that did not go quite as far as Iran’s.
“Deputy Secretary General Schmid and Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi made very good progress on all the pertinent issues,” said the statement from the spokesman, Michael Mann. “This is now under validation at political level in capitals.”
The two-day round of talks in Geneva was held against a backdrop of rising pressure to implement the agreement reached nearly two months ago. The pact was hailed at the time as a diplomatic breakthrough that could lead to a resolution of the decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities. Western countries and Israel say those activities are a cloak to achieve the capacity to make nuclear weapons, while Iran says they are purely for peaceful purposes.