A senior Iranian negotiator says Iran and the United States will kick off a fresh round of talks on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 20.The negotiations will begin on Friday when deputy foreign ministers from Iran and the US will hold talks on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi.
Araqchi further noted he and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi will sit down with a US delegation headed by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.
The talks between the deputy foreign minister will continue on Saturday, Araqchi said, adding, “On Sunday and Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry will join the negotiators and the talks will continue” between the delegations from the two countries.
“It is also likely that after the fourth day [of bilateral talks between Iran and the US] the negotiations are held at the P5+1 level,” Araqchi added.
Sherman and her team will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday to hold negotiations with Iranian officials, the State Department said on Wednesday.
“These bilateral consultations will take place in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran,” it added.
It noted that Deputy Secretary General for the European Union’s External Action Service Helga Schmid would also join the bilateral talks.
The new round of talks will come as Zarif and Kerry have held meetings multiple times mostly in European capitals.
The last face-to-face meeting between Zarif and Kerry was held in the German city of Munich earlier this month, when they met twice on separate days on the sidelines of an international security conference.
Iran and the P5+1 countries – Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany – are seeking to seal a high-profile political deal by the end of March and to confirm the full technical details of the accord by July 1.
The scale of Iran’s uranium enrichment and the timetable for the removal of anti-Iran sanctions are seen as the major stumbling blocks in the talks.
Iran has so far suspended some of its enrichment program in return for certain sanctions relief.