Maintaining Peaceful N. Program Top on Iran’s Agenda: Spokeswoman

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman expressed Tehran’s determination to maintain its peaceful nuclear program, noting that the ultimate objective of nuclear talks with the world powers is to maintain the program and resolve the West's standoff over the issue once and for all.

Maintaining Peaceful N. Program Top on Iran’s Agenda: Spokeswoman

Speaking to reporters in her weekly press conference here in Tehran on Tuesday, Marziyeh Afkham stated that “maintaining Iran’s peaceful nuclear program” sets a top priority for the country in its nuclear talks with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).

She said that it would not be possible to establish an agenda for the next round of the nuclear negotiations in advance, but made it clear that an “eventual resolution” of disputes over Tehran’s nuclear case will be the topic of the talks.

Tehran and the G5+1 (also known as P5+1 or E3+3) had on November 24 reached a six-month deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The breakthrough deal, which has come into effect since January 20, stipulates that over the course of six months, Iran and the six countries will draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the whole sanctions on Iran.

The spokeswoman further added that Iran participated in the nuclear talks with a new attitude, which has been based on upholding the country’s nuclear rights, activities and peaceful programs.

Afkham at the same time insisted that Iran’s entire nuclear activities have been under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “allay some logical concerns” over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The procedure of the negotiations resulted in the Joint Plan of Action, she said, adding that the six-month period can now be considered as an opportunity for the other side to show its commitment to the deal.

The spokeswoman also rejected the one-sided interpretations of the Geneva nuclear deal, and said, “The criterion for us is the Joint Plan of Action and what has been finalized in the negotiations between the two parties.”

This comes after a White House fact sheet issued in November after the initial agreement put a biased interpretation on the Geneva deal, saying Iran should "dismantle the technical connections required to enrich (uranium) above 5%."

However, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on January 22 insisted that the Obama administration mischaracterizes Tehran’s commitments in the six-month nuclear deal, and said Iran “did not agree to dismantle anything."

Zarif stressed in an interview with CNN that the terminology used by the White House to describe the agreement differed from the text agreed to by Iran and the other countries in the talks.

"The White House version both underplays the concessions and overplays Iranian commitments" under the agreement that took effect on January 20, Zarif said in Davos, Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.

"The White House tries to portray it as basically a dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. That is the word they use time and again," the Iranian minister said.

Urging reference to the actual text of the Geneva agreement, the top Iranian diplomat further emphasized, "If you find a single, a single word, that even closely resembles dismantling or could be defined as dismantling in the entire text, then I would take back my comment."

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