Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic is prepared for “serious” negotiations over its nuclear energy program.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to hold serious talks and we hope the other side, too, is as serious in the negotiations,” Zarif said in a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on the sidelines of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.
The French foreign minister, for his part, expressed hope that the upcoming talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany about Tehran’s nuclear energy program would be constructive.
The Iranian foreign minister and his counterparts from the six countries are scheduled to hold nuclear talks in New York on Thursday.
Addressing the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, French President François Hollande said Iran is entitled to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Tehran “clearly has the right to pursue its civilian program,” Hollande said.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the US and European Union using the claim as an excuse to impose illegal sanctions against Tehran.
Iran has categorically rejected the allegation against its peaceful nuclear program, stressing that as a committed member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted toward military objectives.