Cleric says West should take new opportunity to close deal with Iran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Tehran’s interim Friday Prayers leader rejected certain western officials for blaming the snag in last week’s nuclear talks on Iran, saying the Islamic Republic still expects westerners to grasp the opportunity for negotiations.

Addressing a large congregation of Iranian worshippers in Tehran on Friday, Hojjatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi criticized certain countries for shifting the blame for failure of Geneva talks onto Iran, and said, “This is one of those blatant lies. They (westerners) have acted contrary to their previous words.”

Iran and the G5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) wrapped up three days of intensive talks over Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 10.

Failing to agree on a deal, the sides have agreed to resume talks on November 20, again in Geneva.

One day after conclusion of Iran-G5+1 talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was speaking in Abu Dhabi about why the nuclear talks between Iran and the G5+1 failed to produce resolution, said the six world powers “signed off” on a deal, but Iran was not ready to accept it.

Kerry said the major powers were “unified on Saturday when we presented a proposal to the Iranians, and the French signed off on it, we signed off on it, and everybody agreed it was a fair proposal. There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it at that particular moment, they weren’t able to accept that particular thing.”

Hojjatoleslam Seddiqi went on to say that there is still the ground for leading the negotiations into the desired results, and noted, “We expect the westerners to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Responding to remarks by Kerry in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that singling out Iran only served to undermine confidence in the Geneva negotiations, which are to resume on November 20.

Soon after the last round of nuclear talks ended on Sunday, diplomats from western nations accused the French of trying to upstage the other powers and causing unnecessary trouble for the talks.

Zarif’s view of events was supported by a Russian foreign ministry source, implying the fault was due to disunity among the six world powers.

“The draft joint document suited the Iranian side. But since decisions at negotiations are taken by consensus, it was not possible to make a final deal,” a foreign ministry source said in comments carried by all Russia’s main news agencies.

“And this was not the fault of the Iranians,” it added.

Also on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the six major world powers did not draw up any joint document during the latest round of talks with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

“This time, the P5+1 group did not formulate any joint document. There was an American-proposed draft. We vigorously supported this draft. If this document had been supported by all (members of the P5+1), it would have already been adopted,” Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying at a press conference in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief says “enormous” progress has been made in the two rounds of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six major world powers in Geneva.

“An enormous amount of progress was made in the last two rounds of talks in Geneva under the new Iranian government, and we hope that that will be carried forward,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for Catherine Ashton, in an interview with the Voice of Russia radio station on Wednesday.

By Tasnim News Agency 


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