|Six to nine months enough to resolve Iran nuclear issue: Lavrov||
TEHRAN – Six to nine months of cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, aided by talks between the 3+3 group, is enough to settle the Iranian nuclear issue and have sanctions relaxed, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Lavrov made the remarks during an interview with RT, the text of which was published on Tuesday.
Following are excerpts of the text of the interview:
Q: Following the UN General Assembly in New York, there seems to be cautious optimism about Tehran’s new approach, perhaps not from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that he fears that the United States is in the process or on the path to being duped by Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani. I just wondered what you made of Netanyahu’s assessment of that situation.
A: Certainly, we welcomed the mood which was prevailing on Iran during the General Assembly general debate – the statement of President Rouhani, the meetings with (Iranian Foreign) Minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif who attended the meeting of the 3+3 group on the Iranian nuclear issue. Both President Rouhani and Minister Zarif said that they would like to resolve this issue and resolve it fast. They were saying 6-9 months would be enough if everyone cooperates. I agree.
The main thing is for Iran is to cooperate because Iran knows the questions which have been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency supported by the Security Council. These questions have to be clarified fully, and we are gratified that Iran scheduled a meeting with IAEA experts exactly on this subject. They have to answer, I think, a half-dozen or so questions, which have been with us for many years. Then Iran also agreed to have another round of negotiations, to resume the negotiations with the 3+3 group, which would also take place later this month. And Iran has a legitimate right to know the endgame, as they said. And the endgame, as far as we are concerned, as (Russian) President Vladimir Putin repeatedly stated, should be recognition of the Iranian right to the benefits of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including the right to enrich uranium for fuel purposes only, provided Iran closes all the issues with the IAEA and puts its entire nuclear program under full and strict control of the agency.
It's a very elaborate and exhaustive statement, and I think if other members of the 3+3 group reiterate this position, then it would be easy for us and Iranians to set a road map, a step-by-step approach when Iran takes a step expected from it by the international community and the international community relieves sanctions to some extent.
And then, as we progress on this action-for-action basis, we must arrive to a point where everyone would be satisfied that Iranian nuclear program is entirely peaceful. And then Iran should be out of any sanctions, both the sanctions imposed by the Security Council but also unilateral sanctions. As for the statements regarding the Iranians playing another game and trying to dupe people, I haven't seen any confirmation by any intelligence – be it Russian, be it European, be it the United States, be it Mossad, which would categorically say that the Iranian leadership has taken a political decision to have a military nuclear program. No intelligence agency on earth was able so far to make this conclusion. And we spoke to our American colleagues just recently. They agreed that Iran hasn't taken a political decision to go military in its nuclear program, and therefore we all must avoid statements, which would just antagonize the parties to these negotiations and concentrate on a chance which we certainly have now.
Q: What about Israel’s suspicions, let’s say, of Tehran? Is there a concern that Israel’s position could influence Washington and perhaps jeopardize the resumption of the nuclear talks?
A: No, I don’t think so. I think the Israeli position is motivated by, you know, conviction that the Iranian nuclear bomb would be absolutely, existentially unacceptable for Israel, but it is unacceptable for anyone.
We are categorically against any new military nuclear powers to appear on this earth, be it Iran, be it North Korea, be it anyone. But to make sure that this is not the case, we have to resolve this type of situations by negotiations and not by threats and not by military strikes. Because as you put all your emphasis on resolving this by force, there would be more and more countries who would say: you see, Iran didn’t have a bomb and yet it was bombed. So let’s think how we can take care of our own security. And then the risks to proliferation of nuclear technologies and chemical weapons and biological weapons will be multiplied. So any threats of use of force to resolve issues like this are absolutely counterproductive from the point of view of our common goal to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
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