Zarif: Salehi present in talks for more precise, frank discussions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Tehran, Feb 22, IRNA – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the chairman of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi is participating in the ongoing nuclear talks to help having more precise and detailed discussions and a better decision-making process.

He said, ‘Senior authorities in Iran believed that nuclear negotiations have currently reached a phase where there is an urgent need for important decisions to be made.

‘That is why Mr. Salehi was asked to join the Iranian nuclear negotiating team in this round of talks in order to address the issues in a more transparent, precise and detailed manner,’ the foreign minister added.

Referring to various aspects of the issues discussed in the nuclear talks, Zarif said, ‘We have issues like Iran’s enrichment plans and Arak atomic facilities. Talking about all these subjects requires a complete knowledge about Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and as the chairman of AEOI, Mr. Salehi is a skillful and scientific figure with enough information and experience in dealing with nuclear issues.’

‘Considering that we are approaching the deadline,’ Zarif said, Iran decided to have Mr. Salehi in the process of talks to get a better and all-inclusive outlook of issues.

‘The American side, too, participated in the talks at the level of its energy minister responding to our proposal,’ added the minister.

Noting that Iran is not for a vague and curtailed agreement, Zarif stressed there will be no agreement before all aspects are agreed upon.

Speaking to the IRIB News in Geneva, he further went on to point to the recent guidelines provided by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei who stressed there will be only a one-stage agreement.

He said this came as an encouragement for the Iranian nuclear team members who always believed that tiny, partial and detached agreements will be of no use for the nation.

The Leader said on February 8 that the nuclear negotiations must lead to the lifting of all sanctions against Iran.

Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that the deal must not envisage prolonged process, because, he added, enemies favored to use next stages of the deal for bargaining.

The Leader added that big powers embarked on procrastination so far to make Iran suffer more from sanctions.

Supporting the Leader’s viewpoint, Zarif had earlier said that he also had the same point of view about the future of the talks.

Zarif said he believed an agreement which lacks details will pave the way for diverse interpretations so all parties involved in the talks should be concerned about outcomes of such a deal.

He said Iran’s overall policy is to have everything written down on the paper as a final agreement only when views of all parties were close enough.

Highlighting the absolutely peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, Zarif added the only way to settle the nuclear dispute is to continue negotiations with Iran based on the Geneva agreement.

The Iranian foreign minister went on to describe talks between Iranian and American foreign ministers in the past two days as good.

He said he believed the only disagreemnt was made due to a ‘mentality problem as some of the Western countries, especially the US and certain political wings in particular, regarded sanctions as an asset for themselves while they are unaware of the fact that sanctions are only burdens and have nothing for them but high expenses.’

Zarif said reaching an agreement will be very difficult as some of the negotiating parties refuse to change their mentality or are unable to confront political pressures of those who feel their interests are threatened by the results of the talks.

‘They will get nowhere as long as they aim to continue putting pressure on Iran,’ the foreign minister stressed.

Based on a religious decree (Fatwa) issued by the Supreme Leader, the Islamic system in Iran regarded nuclear arms as a threat to the international peace and security as well as national sovereignty, Zarif noted.

The Iranian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State John Kerry are in Geneva for a trilateral round of talks also to be joined by Helga Schmid, the deputy of EU foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini.

On Friday, the Iranian and US deputy foreign ministers and Schmid held a five-hours discussion. Experts of the two countries also held a separate meeting for two-and-a-half hours later on the day.

IRNA reporter in Geneva said that deputy foreign ministers of other members of the P5+1 (Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany) may join the talks in coming days.

Representatives of Iran and the six governments are aiming to reach a political understanding by March and agree on a comprehensive deal by a self-imposed June 30 deadline.

An especial aide to President Hassan Rouhani – Hossein Fereydoun – has joined the Iranian nuclear team to give consultations and make the necessary coordination as the negotiations are going forward to reach a comprehensive deal.

Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali-Akbar Salehi, his deputy Behrouz Kamalvandi along with deputies of foreign minister Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi are currently in Geneva for nuclear talks with US top negotiator Wendy Sherman and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.