Gradual Lifting of Sanctions Rejected

Gradual Lifting  of Sanctions RejectedGradual Lifting  of Sanctions Rejected

A senior nuclear negotiator says a "step-by-step" lifting of sanctions under a final nuclear deal with the major powers is "unacceptable".

"The word which has been used (in the Geneva accord) is the lifting of sanctions and we will not agree to less than that," Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi said on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are trying to build on an interim nuclear deal they reached in Geneva last November to hammer out a long-term settlement to the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program by a self-imposed November 24 target date.      

“Our discussions (which resulted in) the Geneva agreement were based of the lifting of sanctions,” Takht-Ravanchi said, adding, “If they are to take a difficult decision, now is the time to do so; it is possible if they really want to negotiate.”

“Apparently, they are also keen to help resolve the issue, but it should not be forgotten that some people are seeking to scuttle the process.”

He also said, “We do not believe in the categorization of sanctions and sanctions must be lifted altogether.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not agree that sanctions will be lifted one by one.”

  Focus on Deadline

Takht-Ravanchi said Iranian negotiators are not thinking about the extension of nuclear talks and are trying to help clinch a deal by the deadline.  

“If the Westerners really want the resolution of the nuclear issue, they should not look for excuses and should come to terms with the realities of Iran,” he said.

  Enrichment Program

Elsewhere, the senior diplomat said Iran will not agree to a deal that envisages Tehran’s uranium enrichment program as a “decorative” one.

The final deal must take into account the fact that Iran needs a uranium enrichment capacity of 190,000 SWUs (separative work unit) to produce nuclear fuel for its reactors. In addition, he said Iran plans to use a new generation of centrifuge machines to enrich uranium.  

  Extension of Talks Not on Agenda

In an interview with IRNA on Monday, an unnamed member of the nuclear negotiating team denied a recent report by the Los Angeles Times that discussions are underway on the extension of nuclear talks.

“The newspaper’s report is not true. The extension of talks is not on the agenda and all parties are focused on serious continuation of negotiations by November 24.”

Iran and the six major powers failed to meet a July 20 target date to work out a comprehensive nuclear deal and extended talks and the Geneva deal for four more months.

The Los Angeles Times on Saturday quoted Western officials as saying that with the nuclear talks failing to make significant progress and their deadline less than one month away, the six major powers had begun discussing whether to again extend the negotiations.

The officials said they believed a deal was still possible by the deadline, but recognized that the odds are long and wanted to avoid a collapse of talks that could heighten tension.

“Our priority is still to work hard and try to reach an agreement,” said one Western official. “But clearly, it would be extremely, extremely challenging.”