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Iran nuclear talks back to bargaining table as US, EU diplomats make flight plans to Geneva

Mohammad Zarif takes to social media to proclaim Iran is ready to sit down with European Union, United States and further nuclear talks this week in Geneva.

Mohammad zarif iran foreign minister jan 2014Enlarge
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif speaks to reporters in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 4, 2014. (OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran, the United States and European Union are to resume nuclear talks on Thursday and Friday in Geneva, with the Islamic Republic’s foreign minister saying he’s eager to build on previous “positive results.”

On his Facebook page Wednesday, Mohammad Zarif said Iran is “very serious” about the work ahead.

“The nuclear talks are continuing with seriousness and a strong political will,” he wrote, Agence France-Presse said.

Zarif said talks in December between Iran, the US, United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany – the P5+1 group – generated “positive results.”

Two days of meetings in Geneva won’t feature the major players, but understudies: Zarif deputy Abbas Araqchi and Helga Schmid, deputy to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is to be in Geneva representing the US, the State Department said.

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Iranian media reported the three will hold joint discussions, although that wasn’t confirmed by the State Department.

Sherman will later join Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris to speak with world leaders about the Syrian civil war.

Iran and world powers reached an interim agreement in late November to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment in exchange for easing of economic sanctions.

Opponents suggest Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, while the Islamic Republic says it is pursuing power generation and medical research goals.

Among topics discussed in Geneva this week is a timetable for the agreement.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/140108/iran-nuclear-talks-back-bargaining-table-us-eu-diploma