An EU spokesman says "very intense work" is under way in nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, as top diplomats were heading to Geneva. Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said on Novermber 8 that "progress" is being made.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
(photo by Mohammadreza Alimadadi, Islamic Republic News Agency)
Mann spoke as negotiators from Iran and six world powers meeting in Geneva appeared closer to a deal that would partially limit Iran's disputed nuclear program in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions.
On November 7, the White House said the six world powers were ready to ease some sanctions on Iran if Tehran takes clear steps to halt the advance of its nuclear program.
However, no details of any accord have been confirmed.
Mann said there is currently no schedule of events for the negotiations and it is not yet known whether a plenary session will be held.
The group of six world powers -- known as the P5+1 -- consists of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China, plus Germany.
U.S. Secretary John Kerry is due to join the talks after meeting earlier on November 8 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
UN headquarters in Geneva
Netanyahu said before the meeting that Israel "utterly rejects" a possible deal that would ease sanctions on Iran.
"So, Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal. This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it, and what I am saying is shared by many, many in the region, whether or not they express it publicly," Netanyahu said.Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and to defend the security of its people."
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague are also reportedly joining the talks in Geneva.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the six powers and Iran could agree in Geneva on a "road map" for ending the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.
A spokesman for Lavrov said he did not plan to join the talks in Geneva.
Based on Reuters and AP reporting
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