No halt to Iran nuclear activities: Araqchi

Photo: No halt to Iran nuclear activities: Araqchi / Nuclear Program

An Iranian nuclear negotiator says the Islamic Republic has never stopped its peaceful nuclear activities and will not do so in future, Press TV reported.

"Iran nuclear energy program is peaceful and will remain [peaceful] and we are ready to assure them (the six major world powers) that our [nuclear] program will never move toward non-peaceful objectives," Iran Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araqchi, told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday.

He made the remarks after the first round of nuclear talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - China, Russia, Britain, France and the United States - plus Germany which began on Tuesday at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represents the six world powers in the nuclear talks, presided over the talks.

"To us, what has been announced as dismantling Iran's [nuclear] program and facilities is not on the agenda," Araqchi said, adding that the new round of talks are aimed at reaching a "comprehensive and final" solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

"This is a big task and long negotiations are ahead," he noted.

The Iranian diplomat called on the six powers to engage in the talks with political resolve.

"The basis of the negotiations is...the Joint Plan of Action and no issue outside its framework can be on the agenda of the negotiations," Araqchi pointed out.

He said the first round of the talks between Iran and the six powers in Vienna was a good start.

This is the first round of high-level negotiations held between Tehran and the Sextet of world powers after they clinched a landmark interim deal in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24, 2013.

Under the Geneva Joint Plan of Action, whose implementation started on January 20, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. It was also agreed that no nuclear-related sanctions will be imposed on Iran within the same timeframe.

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