Iran was ready to strike a final deal with the world powers in the latest round of talks in Almaty, but the sextet paused the negotiations in anticipation of a possible change in Iran’s stance following the June presidential election, a negotiator said, and stressed that Tehran’s position is irrevocable and is not influenced by developments on the scene of domestic politics.
Addressing a meeting with the diplomatic corps in Tehran on Sunday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is also a member of the Iranian team of negotiators, noted the latest round of negotiations between Iran and the six world powers in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and said, “The Iranian delegation in the talks was ready for continued negotiations until achievement of a final agreement, but it was the opposite side which apparently lacked the necessary readiness and permission (to proceed with the negotiations) and needed to know the views of their capitals.”
Araqchi, who is the foreign ministry’s envoy to the talks with the world powers, said that Iran was ready to move on two paths towards a deal with the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), which included continued talks in the form of step-by-step confidence-building measures, which is desired by the six world powers, but is long and time-consuming.
The other path is a shortcut in which the world powers recognize Iran’s rights, specially uranium enrichment, avoid hostile moves and annul sanctions to reach results rapidly, he added, and explained that Iran is ready to move on either path, although it likes the second option.
He implied that the representatives of the world powers halted the talks to see the fate of the June presidential election in Iran anticipating that the country’s new president might bring a change to Tehran’s nuclear stance, and stressed, “The internal political developments do not affect the trend of the nuclear talks.”
He expressed the hope that the G5+1 would grasp a correct understanding of Iran’s proposals and return to the talks with a positive approach.
Earlier this month, Iran and the G5+1 wrapped up two days of intensive negotiations in Almaty after the delegations of the world powers demanded further consultations with their capitals.
The Iranian team was led by Iran’s Top Negotiator Saeed Jalili, who is also the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), and the G5+1’s representatives were presided by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Western media raised some speculations that the continuation of talks would depend on the upcoming presidential election in Iran, and that nothing substantial would take place under the present conditions.
Following the Almaty talks, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast described the meetings with the world powers in Kazakhstan as “positive”, and said Tehran is waiting for the opposite side’s response to its proposals.
“The two sides’ comments described as positive the start of straightforward and serious expression of views, and to take a correct step, our officials expressed their views and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) should now respond,” Mehman-Parast said at a weekly press conference in Tehran.
“We are (now) waiting for Mrs. Ashton’s response and her consultations with the G5+1,” he added.
Iran had announced a day prior to the start of the talks that it would enter the negotiations with the G5+1 with clear, groundbreaking proposals.
Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, saying that renouncing its rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would encourage the world powers to put further pressure on the country and would not lead to a change in the West’s hardline stance on Tehran.
Iran is under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment. The United States and the European Union have ratcheted up their sanctions on Iran this year to force it to curb its nuclear program.
Iranian officials have always shrugged off the sanctions, saying that pressures make them strong and reinvigorate their resolve to further move towards self-sufficiency.