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Iran Nuclear Talks End With 'Limited' Progress

Source: RFE/RL

GENEVA -- Diplomats say the January 18 nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva have ended with "limited progress."

Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city.

Abbas Aragchi, the head of the Iranian delegation, described the talks as "useful" but said it is "too early to speak about any progress."

China's envoy Wang Qun said the next round of the negotiations is set for early February, but the venue has not been decided.

The talks are aimed at limiting Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.

American and Iranian negotiators have been working on a draft document to speed up the talks.

The document is called the Principles of Agreement and is part of the framework agreement that Iran and world powers have sought to complete by March, Al Monitor reported.

Qun told RFE/RL's Radio Farda in Geneva that an agreement on principles was more important than a document.

"What is more important is meeting of minds, format -- comparatively speaking -- is secondary, though it is absolutely logical and absolutely inevitable at a certain stage if an agreement is to be brought about," Qun said.

The negotiations in Geneva, held at the level of political directors, are the culmination of five days of talks in the Swiss city and Paris, including lengthy meetings between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Ali Vaez, a senior Iran analyst at International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based think tank that is monitoring the talks in Geneva, told RFE/RL that the sides are working on "an advanced version of what the JPOA (Joint Plan Of Action) refers to as the endstate."

U.S. lawmakers have proposed imposing new sanctions against Iran if no agreement is reached over Tehran's nuclear program by June 30.

But U.S. President Barack Obama on January 16 asked Congress to refrain from imposing fresh sanctions, saying he will veto such a bill while negotiations are continuing.

The talks are aimed at limiting Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions.

Based on reporting by Hannah Kaviani of RFE/RL's Radio Farda, with additional reporting by Reuters and Al Monitor​

Copyright (c) 2015 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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