Jul 9, 2014, 7:24 AM
News Code: 81230692
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What's going on in silence of Vienna nuclear talks?

Tehran, July 9, IRNA – During the short while left till July 20 that marks the end of Geneva Agreement, although the Iranian and the 5+1G delegations are busy doing intensive negotiations, not much news about the progress, or lack of it, is dispatched from Vienna.

About a week has passed since the beginning of the Vienna 6 nuclear negotiations between Iran and the sextet of western powers and in this while neither the diplomats present in those talks, nor the western journalists in touch with them have said much about the process of those talks, unlike the previous rounds of such talks when they both used to reveal some information.

In this regard, only the Persian speaking spokesman of the US Department of State Alan Eyre has said that both sides are trying hard to reach the comprehensive nuclear agreement up to the July 20 deadline.

Mr. Eyre has also said that reaching the comprehensive agreement in Vienna is possible, but doing so is a very tough job, adding, 'We are not thinking about extending the negations' period (for another 6 months), but trying to do the job within the remaining time till July 20.'

Explaining the reason for the news silence on the negotiations, he said, 'As you know, we basically do not talk about the details of these negotiations in public, but we can say that the talks are going on in various levels. In one level efforts are being made to proximate the viewpoints and decrease the differences, and in the other level that is drafting the text, the parentheses (differences of opinion in the text) are being decreased.'

• Bilateral meetings pursued

In this while, the news on holding bilateral and sometimes multilateral meetings between Iran's representatives and the 5+1 Group envoys is heard more than any other issue. On Tuesday, for instance, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU Foreign Policy Director Ms. Catherine Ashton held a bilateral meeting.

In addition, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and the EU Deputy Foreign Policy Director Helga Schmitt separately met and conferred. In this respect, Araqchi and the other Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-e Ravanchi together with Ms. Schmitt worked on the text of the comprehensive agreement till late Sunday night, but no one knows whether its parentheses were decreased, or not, and if yes, now much?

*Disputes that the West denies their existence

A week before the beginning of the Vienna 6 negotiations, top diplomats of the Sextet gathered in Brussels to set aside their own internal disputes and differences of opinion on Iran's nuclear program and to try to reach a type of unity of opinion towards the Islamic Republic before the Vienna negotiations.

Today's world is the scene for demanding shares and in other words, 'gives and takes'. In this respect in case an agreement will be reached between Iran and the six world powers, they will each try to gain a bigger share of relations with Iran. The European countries' efforts in that respect has started as of many months ago and various groups of EU politicians and merchants have visited Iran. Russia, too, has been trying to sign a huge oil contract with Iran. Even the Americans have made some efforts in this regard and therefore a hidden competition among those countries in this respect does exist.

Despite such differences though, the western officials claim there is no difference of opinion among them on Iran, so that Ms. Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann and the former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen have in separate interviews with the Iranian Mehr News Agency denied the existence of such disputes.

• Little progress due to insistence on absolute rights

On Monday diplomatic sources had reported that the reason for little progress in Iran-5+1 Group negotiations was due Iran's insistence on its nuclear rights, and two diplomats, whose names the Associated Press had not mentioned, had said that differences between Iran and the other side exist. Of course that is while Iran has thus far remained committed to its entire responsibilities.

Such differences are over the limitations that the West intends to impose against the Iranian nuclear program. Iran demands to continue the functioning of its 50,000 enrichment centrifuges and the negotiations on Monday began while no change in Iran's stands in this regard was noticed.

The diplomats have also said that differences remain over the method for minimizing the threat of manufacturing nuclear weapons due to the work of a constructed reactor that can produced a noticeable amount of plutonium.

Among the other unresolved differences referred to by these two diplomats there is demand for changing the usage of an enrichment center that is constructed in the heart of a mountain, and cannot be subjected to air strikes!

* No clear end at sight

On the time that those bilateral meetings can come to an end, or that they will bear results, Ashton's spokesman, Michael Mann has said, 'There is no predictable end for this job before the July 20 (when the initial six month agreement will end). But the negotiations are being pursued amid a constructive and positive atmosphere, although they are tough at times.

He also predicted that as the negotiations continue, some heads of delegations might get back to their countries for consultations. Alain Eyer, too, has said that although the time is flying, we are not thinking about the extension of time, but to reaching an agreement by July 20.

• A positive sign on possibility of reaching an agreement

Alain Eyre has also spoken about the possibility of a visit by the US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit of Vienna. Reviewing the Iran-5+1 Group countries' talks shows that whenever the two sides have reached a sensitive point and possibility of reaching an agreement had existed Kerry had attended the meeting.

He visited Geneva a day before the initial agreement was signed and then the other Sextet foreign ministers arrived to attend the signing event of the historical document.

Now, too, the Iran-5+1G talks have reached a sensitive point and based on political developments in the United States and the pressure imposed by the hardliners in the US Congress, the White House might be eager to finalize the comprehensive agreement by July 20 between Iran and the 5+1G.

On the other hand, the Middle East status, and especially the situation in Iraq is such that for crisis resolving in that country the western countries might need Iran's contribution. Although it has been announced several times that the nuclear talks are exclusively on that issue, it does not seem like a remote possibility that the US and the other western countries will intend to end the crisis in Iraq relying on Iran's assistance.

Source' Alef website