|Iran and West should engage in serious talks: former nuclear chief||
TEHRAN – It is time for Iran and the West to enter serious negotiations and take confidence-building measures to settle the long-running dispute over Tehran’s nuclear activities, according to a former Iranian nuclear official.
“I believe that Iran’s nuclear issue is in the 90th minute, and both the Westerners and the Islamic Republic of Iran should enter serious negotiations,” Gholam Reza Aqazadeh, who served as director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran from 1997 to 2009, told IRNA in an interview published on Tuesday.
“We and the Westerns have to win each other’s trust,” Aqazadeh said, referring to the fact that Iran and the West are at loggerheads over Tehran’s nuclear program, which Iran says is entirely peaceful but the West suspects may be a cover for developing nuclear weapons.
“Increasing and intensifying sanctions is not effective, and the Westerns have done whatever they could,” he said, adding, “They have realized that they have to find practical solutions, and it is time for them to consider conciliatory and practical fixes instead of issuing threats.”
The purpose is to make the West come to the conclusion that it cannot use the nuclear issue as a lever to gain concessions from Iran through the imposition of sanctions, he said.
Aqazadeh added that there was a consensus among Iranian politicians on the nuclear issue and the Westerners were aware of the fact that Iran would never relinquish its nuclear rights.
“You will see that Dr. Rohani is as resilient as the Leader on this issue,” he said in reference to cleric Hassan Rohani, a former nuclear negotiator, who was elected as Iran’s next president on June 14 and has promised a more moderate approach to help resolve the nuclear row.
“We should not have high expectations from the Rohani administration, but rather we have to safeguard the country’s nuclear rights and pursue them in negotiations with prudence and through the adoption of a comprehensive approach,” Aqazadeh said.
Commenting on the issue of Parchin, he said that the matter is not very complex and can be resolved.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has called on Iran to sign and implement a structured approach document to resolve the outstanding issues and has stated that gaining access to the Parchin military site, which is located southeast of Tehran, is a priority for the UN nuclear watchdog.
The IAEA has claimed that Iran might have been trying to sanitize the Parchin site of any incriminating evidence of explosive tests that would indicate efforts to design nuclear weapons. Iran has dismissed the claim and has made it clear that access to the conventional military site would not be possible before an agreement is reached on the structured approach document.
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