Itongadol.- Iran will resume negotiations with world powers in Geneva next week aimed at reaching a deal over Tehran\’s controversial nuclear program, its deputy foreign minister said Thursday, according to AFP.
Top-level talks will begin on Wednesday, December 17, with meetings at the deputy minister level taking place two days earlier, state news agency IRNA quoted Abbas Araqchi as saying.
Despite making progress, the two sides failed to clinch a definitive deal by a November deadline and agreed to extend the talks for another seven months.
A final agreement is aimed at ensuring Tehran will never develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities, and would lift international sanctions that have crippled Iran\’s economy.
Iran denies that it is seeking the bomb and insists its nuclear activities are for solely peaceful purposes.
In their second extension this year, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5+1, will seek to strike an outline deal by March and to nail down a full technical accord by July.
Diplomats say both sides remain far apart on two crucial points — uranium enrichment and sanctions relief.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently hailed the extension of talks as a victory for his country, saying, "Our nation has emerged victorious and will be victorious. We have neither compromised over Iran’s nuclear rights, nor will ever do so, and there is no doubt that the Iranian nuclear technology will remain functioning."
Iran\’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also welcomed the extended nuclear talks with world powers, saying that if talks ultimately fail, "the sky won\’t fall to the ground".