DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday nuclear talks with major powers were being conducted in a good atmosphere, “good steps” had been taken and more would follow.
U.S. and Iranian diplomats began a two-day meeting in Geneva on Monday to pave the way for resuming broader negotiations involving Iran and six world powers there on Wednesday.
The discussions were proceeding “in a good atmosphere,” Zarif said on state television. “Good steps have been taken and more will be taken. I think the world needs this settlement, in light of challenges facing us, like the threat of terrorism. It is in everyone’s interest.”
The talks are aimed at ending a 12-year-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear goals that has wrought heavy economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic and fears of a new Middle East war unless the dispute can be settled diplomatically soon.
In apparent criticism of Gulf Arab states, long nervous about Iran’s nuclear programme, Zarif added: “I wish our other neighbours would follow Turkey’s example and help in finding a solution to the nuclear issue. Our nuclear programme is to no one’s detriment, they shouldn’t be worried ... Turkey has all along supported our right to peaceful nuclear activities.”
Zarif was speaking at a televised news conference with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Iran, the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia failed to strike a long-term deal by a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline, so extended the talks for seven more months to address what they call complex technical details.
Reporting by Mehrdad Balali, Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Janet Lawrence