Serious Engagement to Strike Nuclear Deal

Serious Engagement to Strike Nuclear DealSerious Engagement to Strike Nuclear Deal

Senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said all parties to the nuclear talks are "seriously engaged" in the negotiations which aim to resolve the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

"We cannot claim that progress has been made in the negotiations. We are still far apart and there are differences, but all parties are seriously engaged in the talks with the required will so that we can come close to a resolution, although we have not arrived at any solutions on key issues," Araqchi told state television on Monday, IRNA reported.

"The talks are being held in a positive climate and discussions are intensive and serious and the atmosphere of the negotiations is constructive and useful," he said, adding, "We have come up with solutions on some differences and it is now the time to make political decisions, a fact which has increased the necessity of high-level contacts between the two sides' officials."

  Useful Presence

Araqchi said the presence of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) director Ali Akbar Salehi at the talks was "very useful".      

"The presence of Dr. Salehi was very useful due to his command over technical aspects because he has the last word on technical issues."

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry held two days of talks on Sunday and Monday in Geneva to narrow gaps in the negotiating positions in the broader talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on a long-term nuclear settlement.

Salehi and US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz were also present at the Zarif-Kerry meetings to provide advice on technical aspects.

Deputy Foreign Ministers Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Helga Schmid, political director of the European Union’s External Action Service, joined the talks on Monday.    

Iran and the six major powers (the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany) also held a meeting at the level of political directors on Sunday and an expert-level meeting on Monday.

  Media Hype

Commenting on Kerry’s remarks that US President Barack Obama is ready to halt the nuclear talks with Iran if he feels the discussions are not productive, Araqchi told IRNA, “We don’t attach value to media hype and continue the talks resolutely as far as a respectful tone prevails at the negotiating table.”

“The Iranian nation and the nuclear negotiators, as the children of the Iranian nation, will never yield to the language of threat, bullying and pressure,” he said.

“The talks should meet the interests of the two sides and lead to a win-win solution,” he said, stressing, “If it is not the way and one party tries to impose its will in the talks using any means but negotiation, we certainly will not be afraid of leaving the negotiating table, but now we are not in such a situation.”   

In a press conference after his meeting with his British counterpart in London on Saturday, Kerry said, “Our target remains, as the president has said, towards the end of March, and I am absolutely confident that President Obama is fully prepared to stop these talks if he feels that they’re not being met with the kind of productive decision making necessary to prove that a program is, in fact, peaceful.”

Iran and the six powers are in talks to build on an interim nuclear agreement they signed in Geneva in November 2013 to work out a final accord, which would place constraints on Tehran’s nuclear activities for a specified period of time in exchange for the phasing out of sanctions. They are set to reach a political understanding on the basic framework of a final settlement by the end of March and finalize the details of the deal until a self-imposed June 30 deadline.