TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that Tehran and major powers will try to set an agenda for the continuation of nuclear talks during their meeting in Vienna, which is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) clinched an interim deal in Geneva on November 24, 2013 according to which Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
The Geneva agreement is designed to provide time to negotiate a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear issue.
The six-month interim agreement came into force on January 20.
Zarif said that it is possible to finalize a comprehensive nuclear deal over the next six months if the other side is ready to reach a final agreement.
He also said that the main issue is the Iranian people’s distrust of Western countries, adding, “In Vienna, I will emphasize that the remarks and measures that can increase the Iranian people’s distrust of the West must be avoided during the negotiations.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator pointed to U.S. officials’ recent talks about a military option against Iran, saying that the United States has never benefited from the military option in any part of the world.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali Akbar Salehi also said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic expects that the country’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes will be fully recognized.
“Despite economic pressure, we witnessed high turnout in the presidential election (in June 2013), and the election of the new administration has offered new prospects in our international relations, and Iran has started a massive diplomatic campaign,” he said. “We are hopeful that the countries of the 5+1 group have received the nation’s message and that they will use the opportunity for interaction with Iran.”
In an interview with IRNA on Sunday, Hamid Baeidinejad, the director general of the political department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, also said that the country’s nuclear negotiating team will have a difficult task during the process of talks on a final nuclear deal.
The Iranian nuclear negotiator also said that the Arak heavy water reactor and the country’s new advanced centrifuge machines will be among the main issues that will be raised during the discussions.