Nuclear Talks: Zarif Sees Difficult Task Ahead
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An arduous task awaits Tehran and six major world powers on the road to clinch an ultimate agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian foreign minister said.
“The difficult stage of negotiations has not begun yet, and we are going to enter much more difficult talks than before,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Iran’s central city of Qom on Friday.
Iran and the G5+1 (also known as the P5+1 in diplomatic shorthand) signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program after three rounds of intensive talks in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24.
The deal is intended to allow time to negotiate a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program.
In exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities and allow more inspection of its nuclear facilities, the six world powers have agreed to suspend some of the existing sanctions and let Tehran receive a small portion of its frozen assets while a permanent agreement is sought.
According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the deal allows Iran to continue its activities at Arak, Fordow and Natanz facilities. The agreement also stipulates that no additional nuclear-related sanctions will be imposed on Tehran within the next six months.
The agreement runs for six months while negotiations continue on a comprehensive final deal. There is little doubt, however, that the main sticking point is Iran’s insistence that it has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.
Iran's foreign minister had earlier said the country's enrichment right need not be recognized by others because it is an indivisible right based on the NPT.
Article 4 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees countries the right to develop the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
It stipulates that nothing in this 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.
Zarif, however, expressed cautious optimism that the marathon talks with the world powers would bear fruit, and added, “After the final step, we will reach a point that Iran’s nuclear program will be treated quite similar to the nuclear program of any other country, such as Japan.”
The minister once again called on the Iranian nation to throw its weight behind the team of nuclear negotiators and buoy them up to accomplish the final goal.
“We should gird ourselves, since we are going to enter a tough diplomatic battle.”