Senior MP: Kerry’s remarks mean to gain concessions from Iran in upcoming talks

TEHRAN (FNA)- The recent statements made by US Secretary of State John Kerry were aimed at winning concessions from Iran in the upcoming round of talks before the November 24 deadline, senior parliamentary officials in Tehran said on Sunday.

“Since the tone of the Iranian negotiators shows they are willing to strike a deal, Kerry may want to use this as a lever to gain further concessions from Iran,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ahmad Bakhshayesh told FNA today.

He said Kerry’s recent statements could also be interpreted as statements at national levels which were made for domestic consumption.

Bakhshayesh also noted that Kerry’s statements are meant to show that the negotiations are difficult to increase the chance of the Democrats for victory in the upcoming US presidential election.

The Iranian lawmaker pointed to the upcoming round of talks between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Kerry in Oman on November 9, and said, “The two sides have not yet reached an agreement and these statements will merely be for the purpose of exerting pressure on the congress with regard to an agreement with Iran.”

The US secretary of state in an interview with the American ‘Charlie Rose’ television program said that “the Iranians should not think they have more leverage now because they too are fighting the ISIS”.

Zarif, Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are due to hold a series of trilateral meetings in Masqat, Oman, on November 9-10.

“During the two-day talks, they will hold negotiations on all issues, specially enrichment and (the removal of) sanctions (against Iran),” an official close to the Iranian negotiating team said Saturday.

Asked if the next round of talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) is due to be held on November 18 (as reported by certain media), the official said, “We cannot confirm that date since the time of the negotiations has not been finalized yet.”

The Iranian official also described the possibility of Zarif, Kerry and Ashton’s meeting before the next round of the Iran-powers talks as “dependent on the Masqat negotiations”.

Iran and the six major world powers ended their 8th round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna in mid-October.

The 7th round of the talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 was held in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in September.

The two sides held six rounds of negotiations in Vienna to reach a comprehensive deal after they inked an interim agreement in Geneva on November 24.

The Geneva agreement took effect on January 20 and expired six months later on July 20. In July, Tehran and the six countries agreed to extend negotiations until November 24 after they failed to reach an agreement on a number of key issues.

Last month, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi described the removal of all sanctions against Tehran as a precondition for a comprehensive deal with the world powers, and said Iran will not retreat even an iota from its nuclear rights.

“Iran’s negotiations with the Group 5+1 is progressing on a hard path with ups and downs and there is no bright perspective envisaged for its ending by the deadlines,” Araqchi said.

Stressing Iran’s full preparedness to take more actions for increased transparency in its nuclear program, he, meantime, said, “We will not retreat even one step from the country’s nuclear rights; no machine or equipment will be dismantled, the country’s R&D will not be impaired and the most important of all, the industrial enrichment will be materialized powerfully and within the framework of the country’s needs.”

Araqchi underscored the necessity for the removal of all embargos against Iran, and said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept the remaining of even one sanction in the comprehensive nuclear agreement.”