TEHRAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Sunday said nuclear talks with world powers were progressing slowly and urged all sides to avoid “troublesome” issues.
Zarif also agreed with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that the technical talks on how to implement a landmark nuclear deal would resume after the Christmas holidays, according to media reports.
Zarif and Ashton made the decision during a telephone call to discuss the expert-level talks that began Thursday between Iran and delegates from the six major powers known as the P5+1.
The negotiations, which are aimed at setting a framework and a timeline for the nuclear accord clinched last month, stretched into a fourth day in Geneva Sunday.
ISNA news agency said Zarif and Ashton discussed the latest developments at the talks and agreed they would resume after Christmas break. It provided no further details.
But at a joint news conference with visiting Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, Zarif said little progress had been made during the talks in the Swiss city.
“The talks on implementing the accord are not easy. They are progressing, but slowly,” he said.
“I hope all sides will avoid delving into issues that could become troublesome and complicate the process,” Zarif added, without elaborating.
Bonino arrived Saturday in Tehran, on a rare visit to Iran by a senior European official.
Iranian chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi earlier told ISNA that Zarif would talk to Ashton over “serious differences” on how to implement the nuclear deal. Neither Araqchi nor Zarif gave any other details.
Separately Sunday, Iran criticized European parliamentarians for meeting leading dissidents during a visit this month to the Islamic Republic, media reports said.
During a six-day visit that ended Tuesday, the eight-member European Parliament delegation met rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who both won the Sakharov prize for human rights in 2012.
“The Greek charge d’affaires was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Saturday to be informed of Iran’s displeasure” at the meetings, the ISNA news agency reported.