Sanctions, Agreement Don't Go Together: Zarif

Fri Mar 6, 2015 20:48:50

Western economic sanctions should be lifted completely, rather than gradually, before an agreement can be reached in talks on the Iranian nuclear issue, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an exclusive interview with Kyodo News on Thursday, referring to nuclear negotiators called the P5+1, at a time when both sides are aiming to conclude a framework agreement by the end of March.

Zarif said a gradual lifting of the sanctions on Iran is not “very conducive” to confidence building. “We have a very clear mandate that all sanctions must go.”

The talks are expected to resume March 15 in Geneva, Switzerland.Zarif also said the remaining difficulties in the talks are not technical anymore and are political, urging the West to make a political decision.

However, he said Iran will not accept “arbitrary and unfounded” requests about the Parchin military facility near Tehran, which western has been claimed as suspected for nuclear test site, IRNA reported.

In Vienna last November, both sides in the talks agreed to aim at a framework agreement by late March.But Zarif said “before all details come together, we will not have an agreement,” in line with the supreme leader’s opposition to a two-stage agreement.

""The only explanation that you can have here is that some people consider peace and stability as an existential threat," Javad Zarif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour."

About the possibility of reaching a final deal, he said he saw signs and difficulties as well.

According to Kyodo News, one of the difficulties apparently comes from the US Congress where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech on Tuesday opposing such an agreement with Iran.

Zarif criticized the speech as an attempt to make reaching an agreement more difficult.Yesterday he told CNN Amanpour that Netanyahu's speech had "no effect on the negotiating table.

Zarif told Amanpour that he believed negotiators were "very close" to such a deal, but only if everybody avoided "the path of confrontation."

"The only explanation that you can have here is that some people consider peace and stability as an existential threat," Javad Zarif told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

The Iranian foreign minister was in Montreux, wester Switzerland, for three-day nuclear talks through Wednesday with US Secretary of State John Kerry.


Unequal confrontation of the two teams

But acting head of Iran's negotiating team with Group 5+1 Abbas Araqchi says Iranian 7-member nuclear team had to negotiate with a team of about 50 experts from Group 5+1.

On the other hand it is reported that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to head to Paris on Saturday for a meeting on the state of Iran nuclear talks with his American, French and British counterparts, a German Foreign ministry official said in Berlin on Friday.

Speaking at a routine government press briefing, Martin Schaefer said Steinmeier planned to travel to the French capital on 'early Saturday afternoon' to meet with John Kerry, Philip Hammond and Laurent Fabius.

The agenda of the talks in Paris will be topped by the state of nuclear talks between Iran and the E3 plus 3 (US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany), Schaefer added.

The European Union has termed the recent nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 world powers held in the Swiss resort of Montreux 'constructive and useful' which resulted in 'some progress'.

The E3/EU+3 political directors and Iran met on 5 March in Montreux for a one-day meeting in continuation of their ongoing diplomatic efforts to find a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. The meeting was preceded by various bilateral meetings of members of the E3/EU+3 with Iran, with the participation of EU Political Director Helga Schmid, from 2nd to 4th March.'

According to the EU statement, Iran and 5+1 will 'continue to work on the remaining gaps' and will 'meet again very soon.'

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