Iran says nuclear talks to resume Jan. 15

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Article Summary
Iran says the nuclear talks will resume in January as the parties try to reach a final deal in the new year.

The Iran nuclear talks will resume on Jan. 15 and include bilateral and trilateral meetings, Iran's Foreign Ministery said Dec. 31, as Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) try to reach a final nuclear deal in the new year that eluded them after a year of negotiations in 2014.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says the “next round of talks with the P5+1 will resume Jan. 15 at the deputy level, with bilats and trilats,” a semi-official account for Iran’s nuclear negotiating team tweeted Dec. 31.

The State Department did not immediately confirm the next meeting dates. “We don’t have anything to announce yet on the next round of P5+1 negotiations,” a State Department official told Al-Monitor Dec. 30.

The United States and Iran held two days of “good, substantive” talks in Geneva Dec. 15-16, a US official, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor, followed by a one-day meeting of political directors from Iran and the P5+1. As yet, there was no breakthrough, the official said, but the parties will reconvene in mid-January.

Negotiators for Iran and the P5+1 announced Nov. 24 they would extend negotiations to reach a comprehensive nuclear accord until June 30, 2015, while trying to reach a political agreement by March.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a Dec. 24 letter to his foreign counterparts that Iran’s goal remains to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal that assures the world its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

“My delegation has engaged in these talks with the firm mandate and strong political will to reach a comprehensive agreement,” Zarif wrote. “We have clearly demonstrated that we are prepared to accept a rational and fair agreement. … We have tried to be creative and innovative and have offered solutions.” He added, “I am confident that a comprehensive agreement is imminently within reach.”

President Barack Obama, speaking to National Public Radio last week, said that an Iran nuclear deal should be "possible" and could be the prelude to a gradual thaw in hostilities between Iran and the United States.

“If we can get a deal on making sure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon — and that deal is possible … then my hope would be that that would serve as the basis for us trying to improve relations over time,” Obama told NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

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Found in: p5+1, nuclear negotiations, mohammad javad zarif, iran nuclear file, iran nuclear weapons, iran nuclear talks, iran, barack obama

Laura Rozen is Al-Monitor's diplomatic correspondent based in Washington, DC. She has written for Yahoo! News, Politico and Foreign Policy. On Twitter: @LRozen

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