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We have gotten very close to nuclear pact: Iranian FM

Source: Tehran Times

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that Iran and the major powers are now closer than ever to striking a final accord on the Iranian nuclear program. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamamd Javad Zarif speaking at Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran

In their last round of talks in Vienna, which ended on November 24, Iran and the 5+1 group (the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) agreed to extend the talks until July 1, 2015.

Zarif said the extension of talks was needed to draft the details of the agreement, and most of the negotiators believe that much less time is needed to reach an agreement.

“We have gotten very close to the framework of the final agreement,” Zarif said at a conference entitled Nuclear Diplomacy at Allameh Tabataba'i University in Tehran.

The seminar was also attended by Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the third-ranking Iranian nuclear negotiator, and some other Foreign Ministry diplomats.  

Zarif, who is Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, said Iran’s nuclear dialogue with the major powers is one of the most important international issues since the Cold War.

Ups and downs

He also stated that nobody should get concerned about the “ups and downs” of the talks, which are “natural” in negotiations.

“Negotiation means give and take and has ups and downs.”

“We have passed the situation in which nobody thought there would be solution for the Iran nuclear issue and entered a phase in which everyone acknowledges that the only possible... solution is negotiation,” he stated.

He went on to say that the other side’s assumptions about Iran’s “behavioral patterns” have also changed.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif said that Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s support for the negotiating team is the greatest achievement.

The Iranian foreign minister also stated that Iran wants nothing more than its rights, because the country’s nuclear policy is based on the Leader’s fatwa, which declares the production, stockpiling, and use of weapons of mass destruction is haram (religiously prohibited).

Zarif also said that he and the other Iranian negotiators cleared up the ambiguities about Iran’s nuclear program through “international language”.

He added that the language toward Iran has “changed dramatically” and now Iran has become “more powerful”, “more influential” and “less vulnerable” than in the past.

No return to the past

Zarif said the negotiating partners have come to the understanding that they “should negotiate with Iran and their behavior also shows this.”

The fact that three senior U.S. State Department officials, and the German, French, and British foreign ministers stayed in Vienna for some days showed that they want to reach a deal with Iran and “definitely” this created a situation which will make “a return to the past impossible”, he noted.

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