Iran says won’t be making any special concession in nuclear talks
A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator says international inspections of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities are not an “extraordinary” issue, adding that Iran will be offering no “special concession” in the nuclear talks with the P5+1 group of countries.
Inspections are “one of the basic principles of the NPT (the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi told the IRIB in New York on Monday.
“The countries that join the NPT and enjoy peaceful nuclear energy based on the treaty pursue their peaceful nuclear activities, and in return, accept IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency)’s inspections” and accept undertaking activities to build trust with the agency, Araqchi added.
The deputy Iranian foreign minister made the remarks in reaction to recent statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry over the permanent inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities as part of a possible deal between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1.
Kerry told Israeli TV Channel 10 last Thursday, “We will have inspectors in there (Iran) every single day. That’s not a 10-year deal. That’s forever. There have to be inspections.”
Araqchi said the inspections under the potential deal will be “nothing extraordinary.”
“We will not be making any special concession,” he said, emphasizing that in exchange for Iran’s trust-building measures, the other side will accept Iran’s right to enrichment, heavy-water activities and the continuation of Iranian programs in many fields and will agree to cooperation and the lifting of the sanctions.
The senior Iranian nuclear negotiator said inspections, which guarantee the peaceful nature of nuclear activities, are among the fundamental principles of the NPT, adding that the Islamic Republic joined the treaty many years ago and signed a permanent bilateral agreement with the IAEA.
Experts from Iran and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and China – are currently in New York to try to work out a draft agreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. According to reports, the negotiations are planned to resume in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on May 12.
Araqchi described as “slow but progressive” the process of the compilation of the final nuclear deal, adding that there are a number of points on which the two sides disagree in drafting the text.
He hoped, however, that the drafting of the deal will have been completed by the June 30 deadline, set by the negotiating sides themselves to reach a comprehensive deal.
The high-ranking Iranian official also said that one of the issues being negotiated is for Iran to agree to implement the IAEA’s Additional Protocol.
“If Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis/Parliament) agrees, the Additional Protocol will also be implemented,” Araqchi said.
“That, too, is nothing extraordinary, since over 100 countries in the world are enforcing the Additional Protocol,” he said.
The Additional Protocol requires the member states of the IAEA to provide an expanded declaration of their nuclear activities and grants the agency broader access to their nuclear sites.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Araqchi said, “One of our main demands is the immediate removal of all economic and monetary sanctions when the deal is implemented.”
Iran and the P5+1 group of countries reached mutual understanding on the parameters of a comprehensive agreement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2.
Iran and the six-party group have agreed to finalize a comprehensive deal on the nuclear program by the end of June.