Uranium enrichment is Iran’s redline and cannot go under negotiation in the talks with the major world powers in Geneva, a senior Iranian lawmaker said.
“Iran will have no negotiation about the right of uranium enrichment on Iranian territory,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmayeel Kowsari told FNA on Saturday.
He reiterated that Iran’s nuclear program has been politicized by the West to avoid its rapid settlement within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The prominent legislator pointed to the new preconditions proposed by the western countries, and said, “These issues have been previously stated by the sworn enemies of Iran like the Quds occupying regime and unfortunately we observe that the same points were raised in the Geneva 2 negotiations (November 7-9) and also in the talks in recent days by members of the Group 5+1 (the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany).”
On Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country stands on its nuclear rights firmly, adding that recognition of Iran’s uranium enrichment right will be part of any deal which might be struck between the country and the six world powers.
“Enrichment is a right that Iran will not withdraw from in any nuclear negotiation with the 5+1,” Zarif told reporters after his fourth meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton who chairs the delegations of the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France and Britain plus Germany) in the talks with Iran, on Friday morning.
Zarif said there is a challenge between Iran and some G5+1 members over certain issues, but declined to elaborate on the exact points of differences.
“Yet”, he said, “the Islamic Republic’s enrichment program will be a major part in any solution and any negotiation.”
Asked if the talks might lead to a deal on Friday, Zarif said, “In case the 5+1 delegations show political will and goodwill for resolving Iran’s nuclear case, the present talks might end in a deal just until tonight.”
He said all the delegations present in Geneva have declared that they have both the will and the tendency to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran.
“Given the fact that we have so far talked just three times about an issue which has failed to lead to an agreement for the last ten years, it could be said that considerable progress has been made up until now,” the Iranian foreign minister stated.
“Attention should also be paid to the fact that we have always pursued this (settlement of the nuclear) issue somehow ambitiously and laid pressure on the entire trend, that is to say, we have let ourselves under pressure to squeeze the time to achieve a solution as soon as possible, and this has made the talks intensive,” Zarif added.
After the negotiators of Iran and the world powers were about to strike a deal in the previous round of the talks in Geneva earlier this month but a last ditch effort by the French foreign minister ruined the chances, now again senior negotiators of the two sides say that good progress has been made in the negotiations in the last two days.
Despite previous rounds of the talks that Iranian representatives attended multilateral talks with the delegations of the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), the present talks have been limited to bilateral meetings between Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who presides over the delegations of the world powers.
After the sudden change in the course of the talks last time, Iran said the world powers should guarantee that they would not do the same if chances arise again for striking a deal.
This has caused the multilateral talks to change into Zarif-Ashton bilateral meetings.
The two top diplomats have already had seven sessions since Wednesday, when the new round started.
Following the fourth session, Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann told FNA that the talks have been “useful”.
Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi, who is a senior member of the Iranian team of negotiators, also told reporters that “the morning session between Zarif and Ashton was “good and positive” and the talks may continue tomorrow.
He said the fourth meeting was ended because “Mrs. Ashton intended to do consultations with the 5+1”.
The Iranian negotiator said there has been a feeling of progress in the talks, “but it is still too soon to judge the results”.
He declined to talk about the details of the talks, but said, “Iran and the 5+1’s discussions are now focused on enrichment. We have declared that enrichment is our redline.”
Asked if France has shown any flexibility compared with its previous stance, he said, “We are negotiating with Mrs. Ashton and she presents the collective view of the six powers now.”
“Negotiations are moving on a positive track,” Takht Ravanchi said.
A very probable deal on the third day of the last round of talks in Geneva (November 7-9) suddenly changed course to a failure due to the negative stances of France.
When after a day of progressive negotiations, Ashton called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to rush to Geneva to go a few more miles because a deal was possible, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started hues and cries to stop the deal.
Netanyahu “utterly” denounced the possible agreement in the course of the nuclear talks as “very, very bad”.
Kerry rushed to Tel Aviv to soothe Benjamin Netanyahu’s concerns, but he apparently failed. The debates between the two grew so unfriendly that Kerry even excused himself from taking photos with Netanyahu, saying he has a tight schedule and should rush to Geneva.
Then Netanyahu made more ballyhoos making US President Barack Obama contact him to alleviate his concerns.
Unsatisfied with Obama’s explanations, the Israeli prime minister called the French asking them to go to Geneva to stop the agreement.
Then, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who was not invited to the Geneva talks, called Ashton urging that he needs to be present there. Surprised Ashton was then forced to call in Fabius’s British and German counterparts to the talks as well.
Fabius appeared on several media and warned that Israel’s “concerns” must be taken into consideration.
“It is necessary to take fully into account Israel’s security concerns and those of the region,” Fabius told France Inter radio in Geneva at the beginning of the third day of (the last round of the) talks (November 9) between Iran and the world powers.
Analysts believe that Israel, the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle-East with 200-400 warheads, fears a rapprochement between Iran and the US, its main ally.