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Balanced Agreement Can Stand Test of Time
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Balanced Agreement Can Stand Test of Time

The foreign minister said a "balanced" deal which Iran and the major powers are trying to finalize by Tuesday would open new vistas to deal with global threats.

"We are ready to strike a balanced and good deal and open new horizons to address important common challenges," Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by IRNA as saying.

"Our common threat today is the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism," he said in a video message released on Friday.

Zarif noted that Iran pioneered in the fight against such phenomena which pose a threat to the entire world population.
 
"Iran was the first to rise to the challenge and propose to make confronting this threat a global priority when it launched WAVE (World Against Violence and Extremism)."
 
"The menace we're facing – and I say we because no one is spared – is embodied by the hooded men who are ravaging the cradle of civilization. To deal with this new challenge, new approaches are badly needed," he said.

"Iran has long been at the forefront in the fight against extremism. I hope my counterparts will also turn their focus and devote their resources to this existential battle."

***Never Closer to Deal   

While he warned there is still "no guarantee" of success, he said the parties to the nuclear negotiations have "never been closer" to reaching the accord.

"I'm in Vienna to put a long overdue end to an unnecessary crisis. At this eleventh hour, despite some differences that remain, we have never been closer to a lasting outcome. But there is no guarantee."

The sides to the talks agreed to extend until July 7 a self-imposed June 30 deadline for the comprehensive pact that would end a long-running dispute over Iran's nuclear activities.

Achieving the desired result necessitates the parties involved to demonstrate "flexibility," be "reasonable" and drop their hostile attitude, the chief negotiator said in the message.

"Getting to yes requires courage to compromise, self-confidence to be flexible, maturity to be reasonable, wisdom to set aside illusions and audacity to break old habits."

He addressed those who have been maintaining a "stubbornly" uncompromising stance and think their opponents can be compelled to surrender by the use of sanctions or military force, saying, "Some stubbornly believe that military and economic coercion can ensure submission. They still insist on spending other people's money or sacrificing other people's children for their own delusional designs."

***Signs of Reason

Zarif said their experience with Iran has proved them wrong and shattered their illusion, making them show signs of reason by turning to the negotiating table.

"I see hope because I see emergence of reason over illusion. I sense that my negotiating partners have recognized that coercion and pressure never lead to lasting solutions but to more conflict and further hostility."

"They have seen that eight years of aggression by (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein and his patrons did not bring the Iranian nation that stood all alone to its knees. And now they realize that the most indiscriminate and unjust economic sanctions against my country have achieved absolutely none of their declared objectives but instead have harmed innocents and antagonized a peaceful and forgiving nation."

To ensure the talks will produce satisfactory results, the western side should still make an important decision to completely abandon pressure and turn to a rational approach, he said.

"They have opted for the negotiating table. But they still need to make a critical and historic choice: agreement or coercion."

"In politics, as in life, you can't gain at the expense of others. Such gains are always short-lived. Only balanced agreements can withstand the test of time," he added.

With teams of experts working round the clock to resolve the remaining issues, such as the pace and timing of sanctions relief, many of the ministers from the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are due back in Vienna today.

***Burning Midnight Oil

Meanwhile, a senior US administration official told reporters on Saturday, "We're really in the endgame of all this. We're certainly making progress, there's no doubt about that... but it's also clear there are still big issues not resolved, which is why people are burning the midnight oil," AFP reported.

Some differences have been settled over the past few days, but the official cautioned "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," adding, "Eventually this is going to have to come down to some significant political decisions that can only be made at the level of ministers."

"It feels like the end," said one western diplomat. "The technical work is advancing on the main text, on the appendices."

 

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