Araqchi: Iran to Quit Talks If Interests Are not Secured
In a response to remarks by US officials, Iranian deputy Foreign Minister and senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said Tehran attaches no importance to media hype and continues talks as long as there is respect at the negotiating table.
“Iranian nation and nuclear negotiators as the sons of the nation will never surrender to threats, bullying, pressures, and force,” state-run IRNA news agency quoted Araqchi as saying.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that “significant gaps” remained and warned that Washington was ready to walk away from the talks if Tehran didn’t agree to terms demonstrating that it doesn’t want atomic arms.
“We have already faced this kind of American rhetoric and it is unfortunate that they repeat it while it has completely failed,” Araqchi stated He was speaking after three hours of talks on Sunday night between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and their Iranian counterparts Mohammad Javad Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi.
“Both Americans and other members of 5+1 Group (Russia, Britain, France, China, Germany) have experienced several times that political or media pressures do not cause Iran to change its approaches, demands, and stances in the negotiations whatsoever.”
Stressing that the negotiations should continue in a win-win situation, Araqchi said if one side tries to impose its will through non-negotiating methods, Iran will have no doubt to walk away from the talks, “but this is not what we are in now”.
“We continue the talks strongly, but whenever we feel that the negotiations do not secure our national interests, we will certainly walk away.”
On the presence of Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali- Akbar Salehi and US Energy Secretary in the negotiations, Araqchi said presence of Salehi was very useful because he is an expert on the technical aspects of the talks.
“We can’t claim yet that there is a breakthrough in the talks and there are still gaps, but all the sides are seriously trying to get closer to a settlement although there are not complete solutions in key problems, yet,” said the Iranian negotiator.
Kerry and Zarif are holding a second day of discussions on Monday as the clock ticks down to a March 31 target for a framework accord.
Their meetings are a bid to smooth the way towards a long-elusive nuclear deal that would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb in return for an easing of international economic sanctions.
Iran denies its nuclear program has military objectives.
“Today, no one can pretend that Iran’s nuclear programme is not peaceful,” President Sheikh Hassan Rouhani told science ministers from Non-Aligned Movement nations gathered in Tehran.
“The Iranian people have suffered the worst pressure during the past dozen years for having sought to realize their rights in the fields of science and nuclear technology,” he said in remarks posted on the government’s website.