Iranian negotiator plays down Kerry’s threat to stop talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry

TEHRAN (FNA)- A member of the Iranian negotiating team downplayed as a normal negotiating strategy the recent remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington would leave the talks, if Tehran did not take a “productive” decision to prove the “peaceful” nature of its nuclear program.

“Such comments are normal and natural,” the negotiator was quoted as saying by Iran’s state-run TV on Sunday.

“Considering the experts meetings at the level of deputy foreign ministers and foreign ministries’ political directors are underway, these comments could have been made for some specific use,” he added, implying that Kerry’s comments could have been uttered as a negotiating strategy to pressure the Iranian negotiators.

On Saturday, Kerry said that US President Barack Obama “is fully prepared to stop these talks if he feels that they’re not being met with the kind of productive decision-making necessary to prove that a program is in fact peaceful”.

His remarks came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined the country’s determination to clinch a fair deal with the six major world powers, but meantime, said Tehran would not accept the West’s excessive demands in the nuclear talks.

Speaking in the Swiss city of Geneva on Saturday, Zarif said Tehran would not approve of an “incomplete and vague” nuclear accord, but rather a “complete agreement”.

“No other deal will be made before a complete agreement is clinched,” said the top Iranian diplomat.

Zarif also referred to the discussions made by the Iranian and American deputy foreign ministers in Geneva on Friday, and said, “The deputies had good discussions, but no particular agreement has been made on the issues (at hand).”

Zarif and Kerry are scheduled to join the talks on Sunday and hold discussions for two days.

Earlier this month, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that Iran would never accept a bad agreement with the world powers, but the country was in favor of a single-phase comprehensive deal which would respect the Iranian nation’s inalienable rights and entail all details.

“I agree with an agreement if it can be struck, but I disagree with a bad agreement,” the Supreme Leader said in a meeting with the commanders and personnel of the Iranian Air Force and Air Defense in Tehran.

He pointed to the US officials’ remarks that “disagreement is better than a bad agreement”, and said, “We believe the same and we believe that not agreement is better than striking an agreement that would harm the national interests and pave the way for humiliating the great Iranian nation.”

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the efforts underway by the Iranians to remove the sanctions in their talks with the six world powers, and said, “If this happens and the enemy gives up the weapon of sanctions it will be very good, but if this doesn’t happen there are (still) many ways to slow down the impact of the US-led embargoes.”

The Supreme Leader reiterated that even if the sanctions were kept in place, their impact could be alleviated through paying appropriate attention to available means and industrious efforts.

The Leader further stressed his opposition to striking a deal over general issues and leaving the details for some other time in future, saying that a final agreement should include all the general principles and all the details together and should not leave anything for future.

Also on Wednesday, Ayatollah Khamenei warned of the arrogant powers’ plots to impede Iran’s progress in different scientific and technological fields, and said even if Tehran accepted all the demands of the world powers in the nuclear standoff, they would never remove their embargos against the country.

“Their main goal of such measures (sanctions) is humiliation of the Iranian nation and stopping the nation and Islamic Republic’s great move towards a new Islamic civilization and I believe that even if we accept the demands that they (want to) dictate on us in the nuclear issue, the sanctions will not be removed since they are opposed to the (Islamic) Revolution in essence,” Ayatollah said in Tehran, addressing a large number of visiting Iranians from East Azerbaijan province.

The 10th round of negotiations between Iran and the six world powers was held in Vienna from November 18 to 24, where the seven nations decided to extend the talks until July after they failed to strike an agreement.

The latest round of the nuclear talks between the two sides was held at the level of deputy foreign ministers in Geneva, Switzerland, on January 18.

The last round of the nuclear talks between Iran and the six world powers was held in February.

Both Iran and the Group5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) negotiators have underlined that cutting a final deal before the July 10 deadline is possible.

By Fars News Agency