The E3+3 partners and Iran are still trying to reach a comprehensive solution to the nuclear dispute. A new round of negotiations started in Vienna on Tuesday (18 February). Following the successful conclusion of the Geneva agreement in November 2013 and the start of its implementation in January 2014, the next round of negotiations is commencing, led by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. Germany, which is one of three EU countries involved, wants to continue contributing to finding a political solution to this conflict, which has been ongoing for years.
Intensive and difficult negotiations
The current round of talks between the so‑called E3+3 group of negotiators and Iran should constitute the beginning of a negotiation process which aims to find a long‑term solution with regard to the Iranian nuclear programme. This solution must ensure that the nuclear programme can only be used for peaceful purposes.
Commenting on this, Michael Mann, spokesman for EU High Representative Ashton, said that the aim of the first round of negotiations in Vienna was to create “a feasible framework to facilitate talks”. Mann made it clear that “intensive and long work” was expected.
There have been major doubts and questions about the nature of the Iranian nuclear programme since 2002. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Security Council and the E3+3 countries have repeatedly called on Iran to be transparent and to cooperate. The goal is a comprehensive solution which prevents the nuclear armament of Iran. Significant progress was made in November 2013 – the E3+3 group of negotiators and Iran agreed on a Joint Plan of Action, the implementation of which was possible from 20 January 2014.
Germany continues to strive for a political solution
Before the three‑day long negotiations, the Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson, Martin Schäfer, emphasised that this would “without a doubt be a difficult process”. He continued:
Therefore, together with our E3+3 partners we are calling on the Government in Tehran to conduct this round of negotiations with the same constructive spirit that made the Geneva Joint Plan of Action possible. I can assure you that Germany will continue to make an active contribution to the negotiation process. We want to make our contribution to finding a political, diplomatic solution to this complex issue which is of great significance to world politics.
On the E3+3 side, the negotiations are led by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. On the Iranian side this role has been taken on by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The E3+3 negotiating partners comprise the three EU countries Germany, France and the United Kingdom, as well as the US, Russia and China. Germany is represented at the meeting in Vienna by the Political Director of the Federal Foreign Office.