President Rouhani gave a pessimistic report on Friday on the nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, saying there had been little progress towards the comprehensive agreement sought by a November 24 deadline.
“The progress realized thus far has not been significant,” Rouhani said at a press conference at the conclusion of his 5-day trip to New York and the UN.
The President said “serious will does exist” for an agreement, but said that any advance had been “extremely slow”. He stood firm on Iran’s fundamental demands to enrich uranium sufficient for a civil nuclear program and for an end to US-led sanctions, which “must be melted away and deactivated”.
Rouhani’s statement echoed the assessment on Friday by Iran’s lead negotiator, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who said talks were at a “breathtaking point” but there had been “no concrete progress”.
An “unnamed Western diplomat”, briefing journalists on Friday, echoed, “On the core issues, we remain pretty far apart…..On enrichment, we are not there yet. There are significant gaps.”
The diplomat clung to the hope, “We are still expecting significant moves from the Iranian side.”
There has been chatter in mainstream media about a compromise on the number of centrifuges that Iran can operate for uranium enrichment. The Associated Press reported on Friday that the US is considering a plan for Iran to keep 4,500 IR-1 centrifuges if it reduces its stockpile of uranium and takes other steps to ensure a minimum one-year “breakout” time for military capability.
Iran currently has around 19,000 IR-1 centrifuge, about half of which are operational.
Significantly, the AP report did not address the equally significant issues of the level of centrifuges. Iran has said it could maintain less than the current 19,000 stock, but only if many of them are advanced models.
Tehran has developed an IR-2m centrifuge — although it is not yet operational — and said it is moving towards IR-4 and even IR-6 models.
The Western diplomat declined to discuss even the numbers of centrifuges: “There is not a negotiation on this yet.
Supreme Leader’s Top Military Advisor: Iran is “Strongest & Primary Fighter” Against Islamic State
The Supreme Leader’s chief military advisor, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, has supported President Rouhani’s campaign in New York for Iran to lead the campaign in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State.
Rahim Safavi said before Tehran Friday Prayers:
Most certainly the military and financial supporters of terrorists in the region, especially America, do not have competence, consensus, or leadership.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is the strongest and primary fighter against the Takfiri terrorists.
Central Bank: Inflation Down to 20%
The Central Bank reported this week that the inflation rate has fallen to 20.1%, a reduction of more than half from August 2013 when President Rouhani took office.
The Rouhani Government has said that it will curb inflation to single digits by 2015.
The Bank also claimed that Iran’s economy is now growing by 4.6%
Rouhani and his officials said that the economy was shrinking by 5.8% in 2013, at the end of the Ahmadinejad administration.
By EA WorldView
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