TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says that Iran has made reasonable proposals to the major powers to help resolve the dispute over its nuclear program.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to reach a solution and has presented reasonable proposals in this regard, but the other side may block a deal through making excessive demands. In that case, the world will understand (who created) obstacles that caused the talks to reach a deadlock,” Zarif, who is also the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, said during a meeting with Cuban First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelino Medina Gonzalez in Tehran late on Wednesday.
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) held an intense round of nuclear talks from June 16 to 20 in Vienna. Although the two sides were seriously engaged in the negotiations, only a moderate amount of progress was made in the most recent round of talks, and the two sides only managed to draw up a “working document” which is “heavily bracketed” due to the remaining disagreements.
The current process of negotiations between Iran and the major powers are meant to build on a landmark interim nuclear deal they clinched last November in Geneva.
Under the Geneva deal, Iran agreed not to expand its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief. The agreement came into force on January 20. Iran and the major powers have set a July 20 deadline to clinch a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal. The deadline can be extended by another half year if both sides agree.
The next round of talks is scheduled to begin on July 2 in the Austrian capital.
Zarif also said on Friday that the decision about the implementation of the UN nuclear agency’s Additional Protocol rests with the Iranian parliament.
“If a comprehensive nuclear agreement can be reached and if its text can be written completely and be signed by Iran and the 5+1, one of its subjects will be the (possible) signing of the Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency by Iran,” he said. “If we reach that stage, the Majlis will make a decision in this regard.”
The Additional Protocol would allow the IAEA broader inspections rights. Tehran voluntarily signed the Additional Protocol in December 2003 and remained committed to it for over two years, but suspended its implementation after the UN Security Council “interfered” in Tehran’s nuclear program and imposed sanctions on the country.
Zarif thanks Cuba for supporting Iran’s nuclear program
During this meeting with the Cuban official, Zarif also thanked Cuba for adopting the policy of supporting Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program.
In addition, he called for increased cooperation between Tehran and Havana on the international stage.
The Cuban official, for his part, said that the two countries should take measures to promote their close bilateral relations.
Iran to increase cooperation with Latin American countries
In a separate meeting with Gonzalez, Iranian First Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi said that one of the top foreign policy priorities of the Islamic Republic is to increase its cooperation with Latin American countries.
He also highlighted the importance of making efforts to enhance economic ties between Iran and Cuba in view of the fact that the two countries enjoy excellent political relations.
Gonzalez said that Havana is ready to expand its relations with Tehran in all areas.