By Martin Matishak - 08/05/14 10:29 AM EDT
International negotiators are likely to resume talks on Iran’s nuclear program when world powers meet next month for the annual U.N. General Assembly.
"A meeting between Iran and the [powers] is very likely to take place around the UNGA, but the level of the meeting has yet to be determined," said Abbas Araghchi, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, to IRNA, his country’s state news agency.
The Obama administration announced last month that envoys from the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany would extend talks with Iran to end its illicit nuclear program until late November. The decision came after negotiators missed a self-imposed July 20 deadline to work out a deal.
An interim agreement that eased some economic sanctions on Iran was also extended, a move that drew criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who fear Iran is stalling for time and secretly pressing forward with developing weapons.
Araghchi said it was possible that one or two bilateral meetings would be held between Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the West’s top negotiator.
Tehran wants a long-term deal that would lift all other sanctions off its flailing economy, but has rejected calls from the U.S. and others to cut back its capacity to stockpile and manufacture enriched uranium.
The U.S. has long maintained Iran is developing nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran has vehemently denied.