Iran, P5+1 Start Drafting Final Nuclear Deal

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Iran and the Sextet of world powers have begun drafting a final deal on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the announcement as talks continued between the two sides in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Zarif said the drafting began despite a number of differences that yet remained unresolved.

“The drafting phase has almost begun. Of course, it does not mean that we have reached a common understanding in all fields. The differences are still fundamental, but our colleagues are right now working on them and we hope things would move forward,” Zarif said. 

He added if the P5+1 negotiators showed the political will, a comprehensive agreement could be reached by the July 20 deadline.

The Iranian foreign minister earlier said if the six world powers enter the next round of nuclear talks with Iran on the basis of logic and realism, a comprehensive deal can be struck.

“If the opposite side enters the talks with realism, a final agreement is possible,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said, adding that if the six countries act illogically, Iran will take measures to protect the nation’s rights.

He said Iran and the six countries – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – have held several rounds of discussions over the past months and are now expected to gradually start drafting the text of the comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

Zarif noted that the fifth round of talks under the administration of President Hassan Rouhani would begin on Monday with a lunch banquet to be attended by EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who leads the team from the six countries during the nuclear negotiations. The Iranian negotiating team will later in the day hold a trilateral meeting with US negotiators.

The top Iranian negotiator said the two sides still have differences of opinion about the nuclear issue, adding, “After the end of this stage, we will still have another one-month opportunity and I feel that if the other side is ready for serious negotiations, an agreement is possible.”

Iran’s foreign minister also said he has not discussed the crisis in Iraq with the US deputy secretary of state, stressing that negotiations have focused only on the Iranian nuclear energy program.

Mohammad Javad Zarif said he negotiated with William Burns only the nuclear issue.

Zarif also said the crisis in Iraq would not be discussed during Iran’s negotiations with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain - plus Germany in Vienna.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also reiterated the Islamic Republic’s opposition to the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

“We, as the latest and one of the biggest victims of weapons of mass destruction, are of the opinion that no kind of WMDs should ever be produced,” Zarif said.

The Iranian foreign minister criticized Western countries, who, he said, claim to be against WMDs and nuclear weapons, for providing the former Iraqi regime with chemical arms in the 1980s.

Zarif further stressed the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear energy program, saying Tehran stands ready to do whatever it takes to prove that its nuclear energy program is peaceful.

“We are ready to prove to the world that we have never been and will never be seeking nuclear weapons,” he said.

A top Iranian nuclear negotiator has dismissed speculations that the ongoing crisis in Iraq will feature in the course of Tehran’s new round of talks with the Sextet of powers in Vienna.

The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi noted that the US diplomat’s presence “has nothing to do with Iraq’s developments.”

“His participation is merely for the continuation of negotiations on the nuclear issue,” Araqchi said.

“During the Vienna talks, only the issue of Iran’s nuclear activities will be discussed,” Araqchi reiterated.

The senior Iranian nuclear negotiator has also called on the six major world powers to remain “realistic” in the talks.

“Some parties in the P5+1 still have some illusions, still stick to positions which belong to the past,” Araqchi said, adding that “a solution can be possible only if all sides” try to be “realistic”.

The Iranian negotiator described this round of talks with the six countries as serious and useful and that all parties were determined to bridge the gaps.

Araqchi also expressed hope that the latest round of talks would yield a result acceptable to all parties.

He called on the negotiators to stick to the goal of the talks, which is to ensure that Iran’s nuclear energy program is exclusively peaceful.

*Photo Credit: Fars News Agency, ISNA

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