Iran’s enrichment programme main bone of contention in talks with powers

TEHRAN: Iranian deputy chief negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi said the country’s uranium enrichment program has remained a major point of disagreement between Tehran and the world powers in the high-profile nuclear talks underway in Vienna.
“Enrichment is the most serious issue in the negotiations and taking a decision and reaching an agreement on this issue is the hardest part of the negotiations,” Araqchi said in Vienna on Saturday.
On the enrichment issue, the two sides should reach some solutions that both respect Iran’s rights and positions and obviate any possible concerns of the other side about this program, he underlined.
Araqchi noted that both sides have been introducing different ideas and options to reach an agreement, and said if Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) can’t agree on a final deal by July 20 (the deadline envisaged in the interim Geneva deal inked by Iran and powers in November), then they will study the possibility for continuing the talks for a few more days, but if they conclude that more talks aren’t useful and the western powers continue their excessive demands, “as we have stated many times before, there wouldn’t be any catastrophe and the world would not end and we will return (to Iran) and continue our programs”.
Asked about the US congress’s warning of vetoing any agreement with Iran, Araqchi said, “This is not our problem and it is the US administration’s problem. We are the negotiating side of the US administration within the framework of the G5+1 and if it accepts a commitment, it should be able to implement it.”
Asked about the importance of the direct negotiations with the foreign ministers of certain members of the G5+1 who are due to come to Vienna in the coming days, he said their presence would be effective in opening the path for further progress in the negotiations, but meantime, stressed that no one can say their presence would definitely resolve the problems.
Reports said in previous days that US Secretary of State John Kerry, German top diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius are due to attend the sixth round of talks between Iran and the six major world powers in Austria to discuss the final and permanent agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Representatives of Iran and the G5+1 are continuing their talks after 10 days of hectic diplomacy to reach a final agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are still busy with conferring on drafting the final nuclear deal in Vienna.
Also Zarif’s deputies Majid Takht Ravanchi and Araqchi have been discussing the text of the comprehensive agreement with EU foreign policy deputy chief Helga Schmidt, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman and other G5+1 senior diplomats in the last ten days in the Austrian capital.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Wednesday that representatives of Tehran and the six world powers are now dealing with the most controversial points in their disputes over Iran’s nuclear program, and expressed hope that the sextet would adopt a realistic view in the talks.

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