US Seeks to Shift Blame for Possible Talks Failure

US Seeks to Shift Blame for Possible Talks Failure
US Seeks to Shift Blame for Possible Talks Failure

A parliamentarian has criticized the Unites States for issuing false reports with the aim of affecting the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers, saying Washington is trying to shift blame for a possible failure of the negotiations onto Iran.

The spokesperson for the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, made the remarks in an interview with ISNA on Monday in reference to a recent report by the Associated Press that Iran has reached an agreement with the United States to transfer its surplus enriched uranium to Russia.

"The Americans pursue two goals by issuing such reports: Firstly, they want to put the ball in Iran's court, and secondly, they want to suggest that Iran should be blamed for failing to reach an agreement," the lawmaker said.

"The public opinion is well aware of the obstacles created by the United States in the way of reaching an agreement and has realized that the Americans are seeking to obstruct the talks. In this situation, the Americans want to put the ball in Iran's court and suggest that although the Islamic Republic of Iran had agreed to their solutions, a deal was not struck," he said, adding, "The Americans have adopted this wrong approach to convince the public opinion, while the fact is that no agreement has been reached on any topic."

Elsewhere, he said, "We will not lower our demands due to our national interests, so the westerners should soften their excessive demands." In response to the AP report, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham said on Saturday, "No agreement has been reached on any issue that is under discussion in the nuclear negotiations."

"Such media hype is politically motivated, and the main purpose of such a move is to spoil the atmosphere of the talks and make it more difficult to resolve the issues," she said.

The Associated Press on Friday quoted unnamed diplomats as claiming that Iran and the United States have tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hopes will reduce Tehran's ability to make material for nuclear arms if it decides so by committing it to ship to Russia much of its enriched uranium. Iran denies its nuclear work may have any military objectives, saying its program is solely for peaceful applications, such as power generation.

The two diplomats also told the AP that negotiators at the December round of nuclear talks drew up for the first time a catalog outlining areas of potential accord and differing approaches to remaining disputes.

The talks have been extended twice due to persistent disagreements which have blocked efforts to build on an interim nuclear accord Iran and the major powers signed in November 2013 to reach a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

The main conflict is over uranium enrichment. The US has proposed that Tehran export much of its stockpile of enriched uranium — something the Islamic Republic has long said it would not do.

The diplomats claimed both sides in the talks are still arguing about how much of an enriched uranium stockpile to leave Iran.

But the diplomats said the newly created catalog lists shipping out much of the material as tentatively agreed upon.

Issues that still need agreement, they said, include the size of Iran's future enrichment output. The US insists that it be cut in half, leaving Tehran with about 4,500 present day centrifuges used to enrich uranium, or less if it replaces them with advanced models. Iran wants to retain its current centrifuge machines that are in operation or are installed and develop the infrastructure to produce enough nuclear fuel for its existing and planned reactors over the course of seven years. Negotiators hope to reach a rough deal by March and a final agreement by June 30.