Comprehensive Deal in Sight

Comprehensive Deal in Sight
Comprehensive Deal in Sight

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran and the six major powers are "very close" to clinching a comprehensive nuclear deal and that the parties decided to extend the talks to hammer out the details of the final accord.

Zarif said in an address to a conference on "nuclear diplomacy" at a university in Tehran on Tuesday, "Seven months is sufficient to strike a final agreement in spite of the fact that the majority of negotiators believed the required time to reach such an agreement is far less than that," IRNA reported.   

Despite their intense and serious discussions in Vienna last month, Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany) failed to bridge their differences over key issues and missed a November 24 deadline to reach a comprehensive settlement of a 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program. They agreed to extend the talks for seven months until June 30, 2015 to give themselves more time and space to finalize a political accord.

The top diplomat pointed to the concerns raised by some groups inside the country and said, "The talks have had their own ups and down" and while one should not be overly optimistic, others should not underestimate the successes that have been achieved.  Zarif, who leads the nuclear negotiators in the talks with the P5+1, said, "We have managed to move from a phase when nobody thought of any resolution to Iran's nuclear issue to a phase when all parties firmly believe that only negotiations can end" the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

  War Drums Subside       

"Because of these negotiations, the Islamic Republic of Iran has become safer ... and less vulnerable than before... No one can any longer beat the drums of war ... the hostile atmosphere created against us has dissipated. The world has realized that mutual understanding and common interests can lead to an agreement," he said.  Elsewhere, he noted, "We all acknowledge that Iran's nuclear diplomacy over the past one and a half year has not only been among major issues of our foreign policy, but also one of the most important issues of international relations since the end of the Cold War."

Zarif thanked Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for backing the negotiators, saying his support was among other "achievements" that deserve attention. He also underlined that the structure of Iran’s nuclear program will remain intact under any deal. "In the talks, we have not backed away from the structure of Iran's nuclear program," he said, adding, "Iran's nuclear program will be moving forward until it reaches an industrial scale. We will continue enrichment as well as operation in Arak (heavy water reactor) in cooperation with the international community."