TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Ravanchi slammed US officials for their repeated warnings about a possible military option against Iran, warning that such rhetoric might endanger the nuclear talks between Tehran and the six world powers.
In an interview with Wall Street Journal, Ravanchi said Iran stands by its pledge to address all Western concerns about its nuclear program eventually, insisting the country has “nothing to hide.” However he said his government doesn’t want to bring issues up front that should be dealt with at a later stage.
Iran is currently engaged in two separate nuclear negotiations. One track is talks with six world powers aimed at confining some parts of its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
A second track, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, deals with concerns about past and present nuclear activities.
“We are prepared to implement the agreement reached with IAEA, but it takes some time,” Ravanchi said. “We understand that there are sensitive issues…of concern to the other side, but you have to take one step at a time. You should not rush.”
Ravanchi confirmed that Iran would consider ratifying the IAEA’s Additional Protocol if there is a final nuclear deal with the six powers. That would give the IAEA greater information about Iran’s activities and allow the agency broader inspections rights.
But he stressed the final decision would depend on Iran’s parliament. Iran embarked on a voluntary suspension of its nuclear activities and a voluntary implementation of the protocol in 2003, but renounced it three years later after the three western states – Britain, Germany and France – did not live up to their end of the bargain.
“If the negotiations go very fast, naturally we [will] somehow give some more speed to our work with the agency, but we have to be careful,” Ravanchi said.
Iran and the six powers prepare to resume talks on a full nuclear deal March 18 in Vienna.
Ravanchi criticized US officials for their repeated warnings about a possible military option against Iran and for playing down the benefits for Tehran of last November’s interim nuclear deal, that eased sanctions.
“We have said it plainly to the Americans publicly and in private, that things might get out of hand. We cannot guarantee that if they continue with this sort of rhetoric…we will be on a proper track” in the talks.
He said Iran is ready to hold talks with the European Union aimed at facilitating humanitarian aid deliveries to Syria, and stands ready to do whatever needed to improve the situation.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton used her first visit to Iran last weekend to press Tehran to redouble efforts to facilitate humanitarian aid. Iran has held talks with Switzerland and Syria on improving the situation.
Ravanchi said Iran could step up help to the settlement of the crisis with humanitarian assistance.
“It is not for Iran to decide about the future of Syria, the Syrians themselves should take up the matter and they should decide what they want to do and who should be their president,” he said.
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