World EU, Iran meet in Brussels for nuclear talks

EU, Iran meet in Brussels for nuclear talks

From left, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond stand for a group photo prior to a meeting in Brussels on Monday, March 16, 2015. European Union foreign ministers hold talks with Iran’s top diplomat on Monday to try to advance an agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program two weeks ahead of a deadline for an accord to be reached.
From 2nd left, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond stand for a group photo prior to a meeting in Brussels on Monday, March 16, 2015. European Union foreign ministers hold talks with Iran’s top diplomat on Monday to try to advance an agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program two weeks ahead of a deadline for an accord to be reached.

(AA) – The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his counterparts Laurent Fabius of France, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy told reporters ahead of Monday’s meeting that all sides needed to find common ground to end the 12-year standoff.

“We are entering a crucial time, a crucial two weeks where negotiations will have to find the common ground for a good deal,” Mogherini said.

Javad Zarif and John Kerry had met earlier in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

The deadline for any nuclear deal to be finalized is June, but western powers hope for a political framework agreement to be established by the end of March.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that western powers have a long way to go before they can reach a deal with Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

Hammond told reporters in Brussels ahead of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday: “We are closer than we were but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

“There are areas where we’ve made progress, areas where we have yet to make any progress.”

The U.S., the U.K., China, France and Russia — plus Germany, also known as the P5+1 group, have claimed Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons and wants its nuclear program curbed in return for the lifting of sanctions, while Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes.

Previously, 47 U.S. Republican senators sent an open letter to Iranian leaders on March 9 saying that any nuclear deal between Obama and Tehran could be reversed once the U.S. president leaves office.

“It certainly is a distraction, but negotiations, in our view, and I think most people’s view, are not about a letter that was ill-informed and ill-advised. And we certainly anticipate that the focus of the discussions will remain on the issues at hand,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday.

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