Next Iran nuclear talks to be held in Geneva: Iran official

The next round of talks on Iran's nuclear program will likely be held in Geneva in mid- to late February, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told Kyodo News on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview, Araghchi said one of the key topics of discussion at the upcoming multilateral talks is likely to be Iran's Arak heavy-water reactor, which is currently under construction and which could yield plutonium.

Iran is "ready to take care of" nuclear proliferation concerns associated with the reactor, he said.

"The Arak heavy water reactor is the result of more than three decades of hard scientific work by ourselves without help from outside -- it is a question of national pride," he added.

Araghchi described the prospect of further negotiations as fraught with difficulty but said the parties have already set out "common objectives."

For a comprehensive solution, Iran should act transparently to assure the other parties its program is peaceful and allay concerns, and in turn the other parties should remove all sanctions, he said.

"If we see the same sense of goodwill and determination we saw in previous negotiations in Geneva, I do believe we would be able to come to a compromise in this round of negotiations, although it is still very difficult because we have difficult subjects on the table," he said.

An accord reached last November between Iran and the other parties involved requires Iran to stop uranium enrichment above a fissile purity of 5 percent and halt construction of the Arak reactor.

In return, the other parties will remove the precious metals trade embargo on Iran, while refraining from imposing new sanctions for six months.

The location for the upcoming talks, between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States and the European Union, had been reported to be New York by some media.