Top Negotiator: Iran’s Defensive Capabilities Non-Negotiable

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A senior member of Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators affirmed that Tehran will never allow any talk of its defensive capabilities to be mooted in the negotiations with the six major world powers, neither in the first step of the Geneva nuclear deal nor in the final step.

Top Negotiator: Iran’s Defensive Capabilities Non-Negotiable

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s defensive issues are neither negotiable nor subject to compromise, and they (defensive issues) will be definitely among our red lines in any negotiation,” Seyed Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister and one of the country’s top nuclear negotiators, said in a television talk show on Sunday night.

He further made it clear that Tehran will never allow any member of the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) to raise discussions about Iran’s defensive program, reiterating that the issue in “non-negotiable” in essence.

“We will by no means allow anybody to propose the subjects other than the nuclear ones in the talks, particularly what pertains to (Iran’s) defensive discussion,” he underlined.

Araqchi made the remarks in reaction to earlier comments by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, who said on Tuesday that Iran could continue developing ballistic missiles under the Geneva nuclear deal, adding that the issue of Tehran’s ballistic missile work would be addressed at a later time in a final agreement.

Under pressure from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sherman, also the US top nuclear negotiator, conceded that Washington failed to “shut down” Iran’s ongoing development of ballistic missiles.

On November 24, 2013, Iran and the Group 5+1 signed a six-month deal on Tehran’s nuclear program in Geneva after several rounds of tight negotiations.

Based on the interim deal (the Joint Plan of Action), the world powers agreed to suspend some non-essential sanctions and to impose no new nuclear-related bans in return for Tehran's decision to suspend its 20% enrichment for a period of six months.

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.

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