Final Nuclear Deal Possible in Absence of Excessive Demands

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

West should reach agreement with Iran during UN session

Excerpts from top Iranian nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi’s interview with Iran newspaper

Q: At present, what are the main reasons behind the differences that exist between the two sides during nuclear negotiations? Is the issue of anti-Iran sanctions, which has been especially highlighted recently, one of those reasons?

A: We must come up with formulas, which would both meet our [nuclear] rights and, at the same time, remove the existing concerns about Iran's nuclear energy program. The issue of sanctions is one of the most important issues and no agreement can be reached [between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries] in the absence of a mutually acceptable solution for this issue. This point has been underlined in the interim Geneva agreement, which has stipulated that all sanctions against Iran should be removed in case the two sides reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement. The question, however, is about the order and mechanism of removing sanctions. This issue has been a major topic for discussion. We believe that sanctions can by no means be divided into different categories. Every decision that is taken about sanctions should be applied to all sanctions en bloc. An agreement, which does not entail the lifting of both the Security Council’s sanctions and the unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran by the United States and the European Union cannot be acceptable for us. Of course, we are aware of the fact that the P5+1 group is in no position to directly remove or even suspend those sanctions that have been imposed by the UN Security Council. However, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, they should commit to doing this within the framework of the Security Council’s mechanism. There is no doubt that the implementation of any agreement will certainly start when the Security Council has accepted that agreement as well, and at that time, it should fulfill its obligation with regard to removing the sanctions it has imposed against Iran.

Q: There have been discussions about unilateral sanctions in which it has been pointed out that the United States is in control of such sanctions. Some say that due to complicated bureaucracy in the United States, Washington is not capable of removing those sanctions in a short period of time. This issue has become a ground for differences between the two sides because they do not have the same view on the period that it takes to implement any possible agreement. How this issue can be resolved? What is Iran's current stance on this issue?

A: When the American negotiating delegation undertakes to do such things, we also consider them accountable for the obligations that they have accepted to fulfill. According to our legal analysis, the United States government is certainly able to suspend all kinds of unilateral sanctions from those sanctions that have been imposed by the US Congress all the way to the sanctions that have been separately imposed by the US administration. There is no doubt that they have the power to do this. However, how the US president would choose to approach the Congress for the removal of sanctions needs a mechanism that should be worked out and implemented by them. They have assured us that the US president has the power to suspend all kinds of sanctions immediately in the first stage. However, when it comes to the stage where sanctions should be totally removed, it needs a more complicated course of action which is directly related to the US administration and the US negotiating team. At the same time, it is easier for the European countries to remove sanctions and we expect them to quickly go through the process that is needed to have the sanction removed. We are negotiating with the P5+1 group and, therefore, both the United States and European countries should commit to removing all sanctions against Iran. If this does not happen, there would be no agreement. There is sure to be a timetable for this and we would proceed in accordance with that timetable. Therefore, as soon as they stop fulfilling their obligations, we will stop observing our obligations as well. I think it is quite possible to reach an understanding.

Q: You have announced time and again that if no agreement is achieved, it will not be the end of the world. Why you keep repeating this?

A: This is a reality. The main factor that prompted Iran to take part in the nuclear talks was a host of our country’s achievements in the field of technology and nuclear industry. The Iranian people stood up against all kinds of pressures, threats, and sanctions for more than ten years and they finally achieved their goal. Therefore, we were, and still are, ready to engage in negotiations. We are certainly ready to address the existing concerns about our nuclear energy program through logical negotiations and build confidence with the other sides. On the other hand, the opposite party should have reached the conclusion that during past years, neither their military threats, nor economic sanctions imposed against Iran have been effective. We did not take part in the negotiations out of sheer necessity and will not go on with negotiations out of necessity. We seek to achieve a rational solution, which would meet both sides’ demands. If they put forth excessive demands and insist on reaching an agreement without due care for our rights, we would not accept such an agreement. Therefore, if the deadline is reached without us reaching an agreement, it would not be the end of the world. We are totally capable of resisting any kinds of sanctions. I do not mean that not reaching an agreement is a desirable scenario for us. I mean that we have the necessary resolve to reach an agreement, but not just any agreement and not at any price.

Q: There are two kinds of viewpoints with regard to anti-Iran sanctions. On the one hand, some people believe that the sanctions have not been removed, while on the other hand, new sanctions are added to the previous list. In the most recent instance, new sanctions were imposed on about 25 persons and companies by the US government. What is your opinion in this regard?

A: The opposite party, namely the United States and the European Union, which had imposed the sanctions in the first place, have fulfilled their obligations as per the interim Geneva deal. That is, no new sanctions have been added and those sanctions that should have been suspended on the basis of the interim Geneva agreement have been suspended. Of course, this is apart from the latest instance on which we have different viewpoints. I mean they have stopped the sanctions that the US Congress was planning to impose against Iran. However, we have different viewpoints on the recent case in which the names of new persons and companies have been added to the blacklist of sanctions.

During the past six or seven months, they have added certain persons to this list banking on the argument that if a person or a company violates the sanctions that have not been removed so far, their names will be added to the list of sanctions. They believe that this is not new sanctions, but is just implementing the existing sanctions. We, on the other hand, believe that this is a case of new sanctions and, therefore, we have different viewpoints on this issue. Well, although such differences exist, we have not made way for those people in the United States, who want to rely on these measures and undermine the Geneva agreement as well as nuclear negotiations, to achieve their goal. However, we are still at loggerheads with the United States on this issue and we even stopped the negotiations for this reason once and asked our colleagues to leave the venue of the negotiations. In other words, we did not allow this difference in viewpoints to affect the entire course of nuclear talks.

Q: During nuclear talks in Vienna, the Supreme Leader declared his explicit position on the issue of Iran's uranium enrichment capacity, which has been a bone of contention between negotiating parties. Please tells us did such a clear announcement of position by the Leader tie the hands of Iranian diplomats during further talks with their negotiating parties?

A: In response to this question, let’s first start with a general explanation. Diplomats are rarely given complete latitude in negotiations either here, or in any other country, but they follow the orders. I mean the orders are issued by political decision-making officials and diplomats merely carry out those orders and act within their limits. The final decision, in view of the relative importance of the issue, is left to relevant authorities at higher levels. The same rule applies to nuclear issue. We move within the limits set by orders issued at higher levels of the government, which are, on the whole, endorsed by the Leader. When it comes to the nuclear issue, the Supreme Leader has already declared his position and I believe that this is the entire nation’s demand. Iran's uranium enrichment program is an industrial-scale program and is by no means a research or make-believe program.

All components of our nuclear energy program conform to decisions made at the highest levels. At a juncture, the Supreme Leader gave voice to his opinion on this program quite clearly and without any doubt and even touched upon the details and gave statistics and figures. Of course, this proves the Leader’s good command of the details of the nuclear energy program and negotiations. I think what was done at that juncture was quite necessary and once again shed light on our goals and proved that the goal that we pursue in negotiations is to meet our country’s industrial needs for the foreseeable future. The fact that the Leader moved at that juncture to clarify both the goals and the framework of nuclear talks had a very positive effect on the negotiations in which we were engaged in Vienna at that time and was very useful.

Key Words: Iran, Final Nuclear Deal, Excessive Demands, Anti-Iran Sanctions, US, P5+1 Group of Countries, Congress, UN Security Council, Iran's Uranium Enrichment Capacity, Araqchi

Source: Iran Newspaper
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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