World / Middle East

New round of Iran nuclear talks moves ahead: Chinese FM

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-20 19:25

BEIJING - China on Tuesday said the new round of negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear program has made progress.

"Related parties have shown sincerity and pushed forward the negotiation process," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.

Hua's comments came after six countries -- China, France, Russia, Britain, the United States, and Germany -- and Iran kicked off talks on Iran's nuclear issues in Geneva on Sunday.

The new round of talks is the second meeting between the P5+1 group and Iran after the failure to meet a Nov. 24 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal last year. The last meeting was held on Dec. 17 in Geneva.

Wang Qun, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is leading the Chinese delegation in the talks, which were intensive, practical and in-depth, Hua said. "The consensus has been broadened."

The Chinese delegation has enhanced bilateral and multilateral communications with the other delegations, Hua said.

China expects all sides to seize the hard-won historic opportunity and facilitate early agreement on a solution, Hua said.

The Sunday negotiations were based on prior bilateral engagements between the United States and Iran, which started with talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, on Wednesday.

Iran has been a target of UN sanctions due to its alleged attempts to build nuclear weapons. The West has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of civilian nuclear programs, which Iran has denied, insisting that its nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes only.

Parties agreed in November 2014 to extend the deadline for another seven months and aim to reach a political agreement within the next four months.

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