|It’s possible to reach final nuclear deal with Iran: Swedish FM||
TEHRAN – The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is determined to implement the six-month interim nuclear agreement with Iran and it is hoped that Iran will also fulfill its commitments under the deal, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in Tehran on Tuesday.
“I have no doubt of the determination of the Obama administration” to implement the deal, Bildt said at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, referring to an agreement struck between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in Geneva last November.
The agreement, which came into force on January 20, granted Iran a limited easing of the sanctions in return for temporary constraints on its uranium enrichment and nuclear development.
It is possible to reach a final deal and efforts should be concentrated on clinching a comprehensive agreement within six months, Bildt said.
Sweden respects Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy program
In addition, the Swedish official said that he is visiting Iran at “an extremely important time,” adding that he discussed a range of issues, including the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities, with his Iranian counterpart.
He added, “We respect the right of Iran to a peaceful nuclear energy program. Sweden has one,” but it is up to Iran to agree on modalities and build international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
It is natural that officials of a country have differing views
Asked about U.S. congressmen who are seeking additional sanctions against Iran and threaten Iran with military action, the Swedish foreign minister said it is natural that officials of a country have differing views on some issues as is the case in Iran.
However, the focus should be on the determination of the EU3 and the three other countries negotiating with Iran to resolve the issue, Bildt said. “It is the duty of the diplomats to go ahead and do the right thing.”
Sweden, Iran should cooperate in scientific and research areas
Commenting on bilateral ties, the Swedish foreign minister said that there is good potential for the expansion of relations in various areas, notably in scientific and research areas.
Discussions were held with the Iranian foreign minister on the human rights situation in Iran, efforts to fight drug smuggling and drug abuse, and other issues that deeply affect “our societies”, he said.
Gulf of mistrust
The Swedish foreign minister, who visited the ancient city of Isfahan in central Iran on Monday before his trip to Tehran, had voiced sympathy for Iran’s historical grievances at a security conference in Munich on Sunday.
Iran and the international community face “a gulf of mistrust,” he said at the conference, adding, “[The year] 1953: Every Iranian and every Persian around the world knows what that was about. And 1979: Nearly every American knows what that is about,” EUobserver reported.
He was referring to the Anglo-American coup against Iran’s democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953 and the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The covert action in 1953 by MI6 and the CIA toppled Mosaddeq in retaliation for his decision to nationalize British oil assets in the country.
Iranians overthrew the U.S.-backed shah in 1979 in events which led to the Iranian hostage crisis, where dozens of U.S. diplomats were held for more than a year.
Bildt added that for things to normalize, Iran “must demonstrate the exclusively peaceful nature of its [nuclear] program … and we have to demonstrate that that’s our agenda and no more than that.”
Noting that Iran and the U.S. still do not have diplomatic relations, Bildt said the role of the EU “is to be at the forefront of efforts to reach a diplomatic solution” to the nuclear dispute.
Efforts underway to improve human rights situation in Iran
Zarif, for his part, said that there is great potential for further cooperation between the two countries in the economic, cultural, and political spheres.
He added that dialogue on the issue of human rights can help bring the two countries’ views closer together and can provide an opportunity for addressing human rights issues “outside a political context.”
Asked what measures Iran has taken and plans to take to improve its human rights situation, Zarif said, “Every government is responsible and must do a lot to improve the human rights situation, and Iran is not an exception.
“Human rights, particularly in the context of the division of power that exists between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches in Iran, is a process of consensus building, not an immediate issue.”
President Hassan Rouhani has made a number of commitments and is determined to fulfill them, he said, adding that the transfer of authority from one administration to another through the ballot box, which is rarely seen in this region, illustrates the democratic nature of the Islamic Republic.
The president’s plan to implement a civil rights charter is also a positive step forward, Zarif said.
Iranian government seeking to develop better mechanism on filtering Internet
In reply to a question asking when Iran would stop filtering the Internet, he said that it is a very “complicated” issue and various issues should be taken into consideration in this regard.
There are people who believe the government has a responsibility to deal with the “misuse of the Internet,” and their wish must be respected based on democratic values, Zarif said.
But talks are underway to develop better mechanisms, he added.
Nuclear talks should lead to lifting of all sanctions
On the interim nuclear deal, Zarif said that Iran has made it clear that the negotiating parties should respect what has been agreed upon and that the final purpose of nuclear talks should be the “lifting of all sanctions.”
The Swedish foreign minister held a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the same day.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader