N-talks at crucial stage: Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that the nuclear talks with the six world powers has entered a crucial stage.

Zarif made the remarks at a joint press conference with his visiting Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni, saying that Iran and the US held detailed and fruitful bilateral talks in the Swiss city of Geneva from February 21 to 23, Xinhua reported.

He also said his country and the P5+1 group, including five permanent members of UN Security Council plus Germany, would make further progress, particularly in lifting sanctions against the Islamic republic, in the upcoming round of talks in Geneva next week.

Iran and the P5+1 group have made “some serious progress” in Geneva last Sunday, he said, adding that a final agreement would be reached in case the negotiating sides agree on all issues around Iran’s nuclear programme.

For his part, Gentiloni voiced his country’s support for the diplomatic attempts to narrow gaps over Iran’s nuclear issue and hoped that a potential nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers would help enhance the relations between Iran and Italy.

It has been over a year since Iran and the world powers agreed to come back to the negotiating table for Iranian nuclear programme in 2013.

Under an interim deal between Iran and the P5+1 inked in November, 2013, Iran said it would suspend critical nuclear activities in return for limited ease of sanctions, with all sides seeking a comprehensive deal.

After missing twice self-imposed deadlines, the negotiators agreed in November 2014 to extend the deadline for another seven months and aimed to reach a political framework deal by the end of March.