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EU, Iran delegates to meet for talks on implementing nuclear deal

Members of a visiting European parliament delegation at the parliament in Tehran on December 16, 2013.

Story highlights

  • Deputy foreign policy chiefs from Iran, EU will meet for talks this week in Geneva
  • The talks will focus on how to implement a deal to limit Tehran's nuclear program
  • The deal was agreed between Tehran and six world powers in November
  • World powers believe Iran wants nuclear arms, but it insists its intentions are peaceful

Envoys from Iran and the European Union will meet at the end of this week in Switzerland for talks on the implementation of a deal that requires Tehran to limit its nuclear program.

The meeting was reported by Iranian state news agency IRNA and confirmed by a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Ashton's deputy, Helga Schmid, and Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, will take part in the meeting in Geneva, Ashton spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.

The nuclear deal struck in November between six world powers and Iran calls for Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for a relaxation of sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Tuesday that a timetable for implementation would be set after a few issues were resolved, according to IRNA.

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Afkham said more details on the process would be made public after the meeting between Schmid and Araqchi, the news agency said.

State-run Iranian media reported last week that a deal had been reached in negotiations between Tehran and the six world powers -- the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany -- to begin implementing the agreement in late January.

But U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said then that progress had been made but the implementation plan was still to be finalized.

The deal has been widely hailed as a successful interim measure to stave off an unwanted conflict over Tehran's nuclear program.

But after initially celebrating a diplomatic success, Iran has reportedly lashed out at the United States for making public a modified version of the agreement that does not reflect Tehran's interpretation.

Late last month, Iranian lawmakers drafted a bill that would force the government to enrich uranium up to 60% if new sanctions are imposed, state media reported.

The move came only days after bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

The United States and other Western powers believe Iran is attempting to build a bomb through uranium enrichment. But Tehran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.