Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran has the right to have an enrichment program under any deal with the P5+1 group.
Zarif made the remarks at a press conferences at the end of week-long talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of countries – Russia, China, France, Britain, the US, and Germany– in the Austrian capital Vienna on Monday.
“I do not believe that anybody any longer questions Iran’s enrichment program. We believe that right of Iran to the peaceful nuclear energy, including uranium enrichment, is enshrined in the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), which does not require anybody’s recognition. The right is there. What is important is for Iran to be able to implement that right, to exercise that right without the threat of sanctions and pressure which are, in our view, illegal,” Zarif stated.
“I believe everybody has worked hard particularly over the last week… in order to overcome rather important differences” between Iran and P5+1, Zarif said, adding, that the discussions centered on two objectives — ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful and sanctions imposed on Iran are lifted.
“We have always said that Iran has no strategic interest in nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons don’t serve our strategic interests,” Zarif further said, adding, “Nuclear weapons are against every principle of our faith and our beliefs.”
“We seek to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Zarif noted.
The Iranian foreign minister further touched upon the issue of illegal sanctions imposed on Iran, saying, “The sanctions are not only misguided… but are totally ineffective.”
“Sanctions do not resolve the problem,” Zarif stated. “Only, and I stress, only a negotiated resolution” can lead to the termination of standoff between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear energy program.
“We believe that a negotiated resolution is within reach,” he asserted.
A political agreement between Iran and the six countries is within reach with a positive-sum rather than zero-sum perspective, said the Iranian foreign minister, adding that four months are enough to resolve outstanding issues in the nuclear negotiations.
The top diplomat further said that the rest of a now extended seven-month deadline would be used to put complicated technical issues into a final agreement.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said that the Islamic Republic would never give up its nuclear rights, saying that the country’s nuclear facilities would certainly remain operational and Iran would never stop its centrifuges.
In their last round of talks before a November 24 deadline, Iran and the P5+1 countries held nearly a week of intense negotiations in Vienna on how to tackle the remaining obstacles that exist in the way of reaching a comprehensive agreement.
At the end of the talks, the two sides agreed to extend the Joint Plan of Action to July 1, 2015.