FM Briefs Majlis on Nuclear Talks

FM Briefs Majlis on Nuclear TalksFM Briefs Majlis on Nuclear Talks

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended a closed session of parliament on Saturday to brief lawmakers on the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, which was held in Vienna from November 18 to 24.

Hossein Sobhaninia, a member of the Majlis presiding board, told reporters that during the session, Zarif delivered a report about the Vienna talks and answered lawmakers' questions, IRNA reported. After seven days of discussions last week, Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) agreed to extend the talks on a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program for seven more months until June 30, 2015 after they failed for a second time this year to meet a target date to clinch a final accord.

The parties have said they will try to secure an agreement on the substance of a final accord by March. The talks are set to resume in December.

 Gaps Narrowed

The chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said the views of Iran and the P5+1 on some issues have come closer. Alaeddin Boroujerdi said, "The final settlement could be a big step forward in the interests of Iran," adding that the two sides could strike a deal in a short time as they have managed to narrow the remaining gaps, IRNA reported.

Boroujerdi who had joined reporters after the Majlis session said, in order to reach a desirable outcome, "The US should take numerous steps and at the same time drop its excessive demands that are made under pressure from Israel."

"The efforts made by Iran's delegation deserve praise… The main reason for failing to reach an agreement on November 24 was the excessive demands by the US both in Muscat and Vienna."   

A head of the Vienna talks, representatives from Iran and the P5+1 met in Oman. Zarif also held several meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU envoy Catherine Ashton there.

"The talks proved that Iran is not seeking to build a nuclear bomb," but what we really want is interaction with the world based on "reason and logic," the MP commented.

  Mutual Commitments

MP Avaz Heydarpour, who is also a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told reporters after the Majlis session, "In addition to the commitments made during the last round of talks, both sides have agreed to meet mutual obligations concerning easing anti-Iran sanctions and unfreezing Iran's assets as well as measures that should be taken by Iran on uranium enrichment," ISNA reported.        

Iran and its international partners agreed in Vienna that an interim agreement they reached in Geneva last year will remain in place, under which Tehran will receive 700 million dollars of its frozen funds held abroad per month until next July.  

Under the Geneva deal, Tehran agreed to temporarily scale down parts of its nuclear activities in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions.

“Based on Mr. Zarif’s remarks, the Iranian delegation discussed at length a wide range of issues, including sanctions, inspections (of nuclear facilities) and enrichment,” the MP said, adding, “Our understanding (from Zarif’s explanations) is that the Iranian delegation made every effort to defend the rights of Iranian nation.”

Heydarpour said we believe that the only way out of the current standoff is “negotiations”.

“The focus of the talks was solely nuclear activities, and Iranian armed forces, defense capabilities as well as missile developments were not for discussion.” The parliamentarian also said, “Zarif said the Saudi (foreign minister’s) visit to Vienna was merely for consultations and had no serious impact on the process of negotiations.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal flew to Vienna on an unannounced visit on November 23 and held a meeting with Kerry on his jet at the city’s airport.

The West has claimed that Iran may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. Tehran denies the allegation, saying its nuclear work is meant only for peaceful purposes, such as power generation, and poses no threat to the region and the international community.