Iran's Deputy FM: Uranium enrichment right must be recognized both in practice and on paper
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 21
By Saeed Isayev - Trend: Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi, speaking to the journalists in Geneva, said that Iran's uranium enrichment right must be recognized both in practice and it must be mentioned in the text of an agreement, Press TV reported live.
"Uranium enrichment is a sensitive issue in the negotiations, and we can accept an agreement which includes our right to enrich uranium," Araqchi said at the press conference. "It is important for us that Iranian people's rights are respected."
He went on to add that while yesterday the negotiations were held at the level of deputy foreign ministers, today the nuclear talks will continue, when Iran's FM Mohammad Javad Zarif meets European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents all 6 countries of the P5+1 group.
"No agreement has yet been reached. We're talking 6 months or so. All issues have to be agreed upon, so no comment yet on exact time frame," Araqchi noted. "Yesterday's meeting was optimistic, so we should build confidence and move towards a common solution."
Throughout his speech, Araqchi several times underscored that uranium enrichment for Iran is not negotiable and must be agreed upon at first, middle and finals steps of the negotiations.
The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon - something that Iran denies. The Islamic Republic has on numerous occasions stated that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, using nuclear energy for medical researches instead.
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is under several rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
"Our position is transparent. Previous government had the same stance. The principle of enrichment is not negotiable," Araqchi said. "This stance has been agreed upon by relevant structures, and all of us believe that the right for enrichment should exist."
Araqchi said that Iran's priority is talks with Catherine Ashton, who represents the six world powers of the P5+1 group. The talks, according to Araqchi, are scheduled to be held at 9:00 am (local Geneva time).
"What is important to us is that the first step must be balanced and reciprocal. It means one side cannot make a small step, while the other side makes a giant leap. It must all be balanced," Araqchi said.
On Wednesday night, Iranian deputy foreign ministers Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi met with their US negotiator Wendy Sherman in Geneva.
Earlier, Araqchi and his German, British and French counterparts met on the sidelines of Iran-Six World Powers talks.