Iranian Negotiator: Few Remaining Issues Left for Ministers’ Decision
Asked about the time of the ministerial meeting, he said, “The time of the meeting has not been specified but Ms. (EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica) Mogherini will come to Vienna today.”
Noting that the Thursday meetings are all bilateral, Takht Ravanchi said, “The foreign ministers will leave Vienna after today meetings.”
In relevant remarks on Wednesday, another Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi underlined that Tehran sought attainment of a good comprehensive agreement with the world powers but was not ready to pay any price for it.
“All delegations and Iran are working on the texts seriously, all sides are serious, a positive atmosphere is ruling the negotiations and the spirit for going forward exists in all delegations but this doesn’t mean that all delegations, including us, are ready to reach an agreement at any price,” Araqchi said in an interview with stat TV.
He said that a good deal is the one which respects the principles, frameworks and redlines specified, specially by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.
Noting that the negotiations have been extended for 7 days after both Iran and the G5+1 couldn’t reach a final deal by the July 1 deadline, Araqchi expressed the hope that an agreement will be attained during the week-long negotiations in Vienna.
Last week, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran wants a deal, but a fair one that includes simultaneous gives-and-takes of equal weight.
“The Americans are seeking to destroy Iran’s nuclear industry and on the opposite side everyone in Iran, including me myself, the government, the parliament, the judiciary, the security and military bodies and all other bodies, are after a good agreement, that is a fair, just and honorable deal in line with Iran’s interests, while stressing on (the country’s) redlines,” the Supreme Leader said, addressing a meeting with heads of the three branches of power and senior state and military officials, where he elaborated on Iran’s redlines and policies in the nuclear talks in explicit words.
The Iranian leader first reminded the history of the negotiations, and said Iran started talks with Washington over its nuclear issue after the US president urged Tehran during the former Iranian administration via a third party to start bilateral talks.
He said the US realized it had been left with no other option but to raise such a request after it saw that all its heavy pressures on Tehran had failed to bring the country to its knee.
Ayatollah Khamenei said while the Americans had vowed to terminate all the sanctions in 6 months, when the talks started “the Americans changed the 6 months to one year first, and then lengthened the negotiations by making repeated excessive demands and even threats to boost the sanctions and speaking of militarism and on and under the table”.
The Iranian Leader then presented his assessment of the trend of the talks, and said, “Contemplation and study over the trend of the demands made by the Americans shows that they aim to uproot Iran’s nuclear industry and the country’s nuclear essence and change it to a caricature and a window without a content.”
He said “the Americans mean to destroy Iran’s nuclear industry … and somehow keep the pressures and sanctions at the same time”.
Ayatollah Khamenei said Washington’s main objective is to make Iran surrender and become a dependent nation, specially considering that Iran is a role model for other countries, and they renege and bargain so frequently and break their promises so often for the very same purpose.
He said negotiation and deal means give and take, but “we have stated since the very beginning that we want the cruel sanctions be removed, of course, we accept to give some points in return but on the condition that the nuclear industry is not halted or harmed”.
Elaborating on the redlines, he said, “Opposite to what the Americans insist on, we do not accept long-term 10 to 12 years restrictions and we have told them the acceptable number of years for limitations.”
Ayatollah Khamenei described continued nuclear research and development during the period of limited nuclear activities as Iran’s second redline, saying “They say that we shouldn’t do anything in the 12-year period, but this a doubly wrong and bullying word.”
He then pointed to Iran’s third redline, and said, “All the economic, financial and banking sanctions, no matter they are related to the Security Council or the US Congress or the US administration, should be terminated immediately and right at the time when the agreement is endorsed, and the rest of the sanctions should also be removed in rational intervals.”
The Leader said the US has put forward a complicated, multi-layered and estrange formula for the termination of the sanctions with no guaranteed result for Iran, “but we state our points in very explicit terms”.
“Termination of the sanctions should depend on the fulfillment of Iran’s undertakings; they should avoid saying that we should do our undertakings and then the Agency (IAEA) needs to verify them before the sanctions are removed, (because) we absolutely do not accept such a thing,” he underscored.
The Iranian Leader further reiterated that sanctions removal by the powers should correspond to the undertakings that are fulfilled by Iran, meaning that the sanctions that are to be removed should carry the same weight, value and arrangement of the undertakings that Iran fulfills.
“We oppose the condition that fulfillment of the opposite side’s undertakings depend on the IAEA (verification) report because the Agency has proved time and again that it is not independent and fair; hence we have a pessimistic view about it,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the West says before removing the sanctions ‘the Agency should be ensured’, “what an irrational word this is, how could it make sure, unless it inspects every inch of this land.”
He then reiterated his definite opposition to “unconventional inspections, interrogation of Iranian figures and inspection of military centers”, citing them as among Iran’s other redlines.
The Iranian Supreme Leader underlined that Iran would never accept a deal at any price, saying, “We are seeking to remove the sanctions, but we see them as an opportunity from a different angle because they have caused us to pay more attention to domestic forces and capacities.”