Fresh Push for Nuclear Settlement

Fresh Push for Nuclear SettlementFresh Push for Nuclear Settlement

A fresh round of nuclear negotiations with the major powers started on Tuesday in Vienna with a meeting between Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi and EU political director Helga Schmid to resume drafting the text of a final deal on Tehran's nuclear program.

On the closing day of the current round, Friday, representatives and political directors of the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) will join the talks, IRNA reported.

Iran and the powers are in talks to finalize the text of the prospective deal by a self-imposed June 30 deadline, on whose outline the two sides reached an agreement on April 2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

In remarks during a joint press conference with visiting South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday, the foreign minister renewed Iran's call on the US to adhere to its commitments under any accord.

"Some political groups in and outside the United States which do not want to see the nuclear issue resolved are creating obstacles in the way of the talks," Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by ISNA as saying, adding, "The negotiations will produce the desired results only if the US administration respects the rights of the Iranian nation in the course of talks."

He stressed, "We consider the US administration responsible for fulfilling its commitments."

"Coordinating with the US Congress and the Senate and addressing US domestic differences" over the nuclear negotiations is not Iran's concern and "is the responsibility of the US administration itself."

He denounced some US officials for their remarks and moves such as drafting a bill passed by the Senate giving Congress the right to review, and possibly reject, the final deal with Iran, which may scuttle the deal, saying they are intended to satisfy opponents of the talks.

***Deep Distrust of US

Iran has chosen diplomacy to help resolve the nuclear dispute, an issue that has been used as a pretext to promote Iranophobia and adopt hostile policies against Iran, the chief negotiator said, noting, "A deeply distrustful attitude prevails among Iranians toward the United States as a result of the policies it has pursued on Iran over the past few decades."

"This distrust can be overcome if the US helps advance the negotiations with seriousness."

Asked to comment about Araqchi's remarks on Sunday that the bill passed by the Senate may delay the implementation of the prospective nuclear accord for about two months, he said, "The legislation will not relieve the US administration of any of its obligations under the deal, but rather it will make its responsibilities heavier."

He concurred with Araqchi that apart from the minor delay, the bill will not adversely affect the talks in any other way.

"Even if there is any other impact, it is on the US administration to neutralize it."

In another development, Araqchi told Press TV upon arrival in Vienna on Tuesday that despite the remaining gaps, he is optimistic that the parties to the talks will achieve the final deal by the deadline.

"Now, we have a written text, although we still have lots of brackets, which represent the differences we have," Araqchi said, adding that the negotiators are trying to reach "a single agreed text."

"We think that we can do that even before the deadline."

The deputy foreign minister noted that the talks in Vienna are aimed at reducing the "number of brackets" and "cleaning" the text as much as possible.

Asked about Iran signing the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for snap inspection of nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic, Araqchi said, "More than 120 countries have already implemented it. … So from that point of view, this is not something extraordinary."

In response to a question about the previous round of negotiations in New York, he said, "What we achieved in New York was the first draft of the whole package."

Asked what proportion of the final text has been completed so far, Araqchi was quoted by Fars news agency as telling IRIB news that "it cannot be said for sure. We are now dealing with a text on a considerable proportion of which we have reached agreement. But there are still disagreements on parts of the text."

The negotiating team is set to hold separate bilateral meetings with US and Chinese delegations on Thursday. It also plans to sit down with the Russian delegation as well as European delegates either separately or multilaterally, he added.