Zarif: Iran Ready to Do Anything to Remove Concerns over N. Program
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif voiced the country’s preparedness to take the required measures to dispel the possible misgivings of other countries over Tehran’s peaceful nuclear program.
Zarif made the remarks on the sidelines of the 21st ministerial meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), in Tehran on Tuesday.
His comments came as Iran and the G5+1 countries (also known as the P5+1 in diplomatic shorthand) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program following more than four days of intensive negotiations in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24.
Zarif said a final agreement between the two sides would take one year to reach, but added that Tehran seeks to finalize the agreement within the next six months.
“What Iran will do in the final steps would be dispel concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, and we are ready to take whatever measures to remove the concerns,” the minister explained.
“The Geneva talks demonstrated that no approach, other than the language of respect and treatment based on equal footing, would work in dealing with the Iranian nation, and the West came to the negotiating table with the same view,” he noted.
Zarif once again reiterated that the full enrichment cycle, from the very beginning to the end, should continue inside Iran.
Since conclusion of the marathon talks in Geneva, different Iranian officials have reiterated that the country’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes was stipulated in the newly-signed accord.
Speaking in a press conference on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the recent nuclear deal between Tehran and the six major world powers explicitly recognizes Iran’s right to enrich uranium inside the country.
Zarif also said Iran’s right to enrichment has been recognized in a deal agreed between Iran and six world powers.
But some western diplomats say the document does not explicitly recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium. But it doesn't explicitly deny it, either. The phrase "right to enrich uranium," or one of its variants, appears nowhere in the document, they say.
Iran's parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said on Tuesday that his country's right to enrichment does not require admission of any country, and added, “All member countries of the (International Atomic Energy) agency, which have signed the NPT, are entitled to the (enrichment) right, even though they do not apply that right.”
According to the deal, Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5% and neutralize its stockpile of uranium enriched beyond this point. It will also allow greater access to inspectors including daily access at Natanz and Fordow, two of Iran's key nuclear sites, while agreeing to stop construction work at Arak heavy-water research reactor.
In return, there will be no new nuclear-related sanctions for six months, and some of the sanctions, including those on trade of precious metals, on Iran's car-making sector and its petrochemical exports will be suspended during the period - which can be extended by mutual agreement. Some of Iran's frozen assets will be transferred in instalments, while there will be less restrictions on the sale of crude oil in this period and the revenues from the sale of oil will not be subject to the sanctions regime.
Article 4 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees countries the right to develop the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. It says nothing in the treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the parties to the treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
In recent years, Russia and China have signaled acceptance of Iran's demand that its right to enrich for peaceful purposes be recognized, and Germany supports the right of any country to that activity as long as it is peaceful. But the other three nations at the table with Iran -- the United States, Britain and France -- have continued to balk.