Deputy FM Blasts Ashton Spokesman’s Remarks on Iran

13920724000057_PhotoI Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and senior negotiator with the world powers Seyed Abbas Araqchi lashed out at the remarks made by Michael Mann, the spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, on Iran, calling them “disappointing”.
After the first session of the Tuesday talks between Iran and the world powers in Geneva, Mann described the atmosphere of talks as positive but meantime said that Tehran should take the first step and comply with its international undertakings.

“Mr. Michael Mann speaks of the positive atmosphere of negotiations but his remarks are disappointing,” Araqchi told reporters in Geneva after the second session of the talks with his counterparts from the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany) last night.

He said that the western powers attending the talks were satisfied with the seriousness and realistic nature of the negotiations with Iran, and said the Wednesday talks will clear if the negotiations have progressed or not.

“If we feel that there is a balance at this stage and can take reciprocal steps, we can say that the negotiations have progressed,” Araqchi said.

Elaborating on the Wednesday meeting which kicked off at 11:00 Geneva time, and later than the Tuesday morning session at the request of the world powers, he said, “The controversial discussions were decided not to be made in this round (of talks).”

“Of course, their (the world powers’) change of tone was positive but we haven’t seen any positive approach from them, we are hopeful about the negotiations and don’t make premature judgment,” Araqchi said.

Negotiating teams from Iran and the Group 5+1 had two rounds of talks in Geneva on Tuesday.

In the morning session, Iranian Foreign Minister and Head of the Iranian delegation Mohammad Javad Zarif started the talks by presenting Tehran’s new package of proposals to the opposite side, but he didn’t attend the afternoon session, and his deputy Araqchi took the lead for the Iranian side. Zarif has stated that he would come back to lead the Iranian team in the talks when his counterparts from the Group 5+1 take part in the negotiations. At present, the talks are held at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

Also on the sidelines of the Iran-world powers meetings this morning and afternoon, Zarif told the media that his team is not seeking for concessions and, of course, would not give concessions either, explaining that only a win-win solution could end the standoff between the two sides.
Tehran’s new package of proposals includes a three-staged plan, each of which has a specific timeline and goal, according to the Iranian team of negotiators.

The Iranian diplomats have also stressed that the new package again includes an emphasis on Iran’s right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes.

Following the second session on Tuesday, a diplomatic source present in the negotiations said the delegations of the six world powers have shown a positive and constructive reaction to the details of Tehran’s proposals.

“The atmosphere dominating the meeting was positive and constructive and the negotiations will continue tomorrow morning,” a diplomatic source close to the Iranian delegation told FNA after the end of the second session of the Tuesday talks between Tehran and the G5+1.

“Both sides (Iran and the six world powers) showed a serious attitude during the meeting and negotiations and several questions and answers were asked and answered face-to-face,” the source added.

The diplomat said the two sides discussed “the details of Iran’s three-staged proposal” and “the Iranian side elaborated on its plan”.

Following the morning session, Araqchi, who is also the spokesman of the Iranian team, told reporters that “the negotiations were held in a highly positive atmosphere and the two sides were serious when speaking of their issues”.

Asked about Iran’s new package of proposals, Araqchi said the package is “confidential” and the two sides have agreed to keep it secret until an agreement is made.

“Mr. Zarif had a powerpoint presentation of the plan in details, the generalities of the plan were discussed in the morning session and the details will be studied by (the two sides’) political directors in the afternoon,” he added.

Araqchi said that the world powers have welcomed the general points of Tehran’s proposals on the settlement the country’s nuclear standoff with the West, adding that Iran is seeking to encourage the opposite side to pursue a common goal for the negotiations.

“The Group 5+1 member states welcomed the generalities of Iran’s plan,” Araqchi told reporters.

He noted that the two sides would decide the date for the next round of talks, which, he said, will likely be in the next month, in their Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday sessions.

Araqchi said that Iran and the world powers should take certain steps for the settlement of Tehran’s nuclear issue, and added, “The time of these steps should be specified because Iran does not want to move in an ambiguous atmosphere.”

He also stressed that Iran has defined a common goal for the negotiations, and said, “Unlike the previous meetings that every side entered the negotiations to attain its own goals, this time we will try to design a common goal and then move towards it.”

Araqchi expressed the hope that the representatives of Iran and the G5+1 would be able to make a decision on the date of the next round of the talks between the two sides during the Wednesday session.

Iran and the world powers held a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York in September and decided to meet again in Geneva on October 15-16.

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