Monday, March 02, 2015

All sanctions must go if US wants a nuke deal: Iran

Geneva, Mar 2 - A deal on Iran's nuclear programme could be concluded if the US and other Western powers agree to remove all sanctions on Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said today. 
"If they want an agreement, sanctions must go. We believe all sanctions must be lifted," Zarif said after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council session in Montreux. 
The meetings of the political directors are also underway of the so-called P5+1 group--the UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany-- and the Iraninan nuclear delegation which includes President Hassan Rouhani's brother, Hossein Fereidoun, AEOI head, Ali Akbar Salehi, his deputy Kamalvandi and Deputy Foreign Minister, Seyed Abbas Araghchi. 
Before leaving for Montreux, Kerry said, "We all believe that the best way to deal with the question surrounding this nuclear programme is to find a comprehensive deal but not a deal that comes with any cost. Not a deal for the purpose of a deal." 
"But one that meets the test of providing the answers and the guarantees that are needed in order to know that the four pathways to a nuclear bomb have been closed off," Kerry said.
"Right now no deal exists; no partial deal exists. Unless Iran makes the difficult decisions it requires to make then there will be no deal," Kerry emphasised. 
"Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is the standard on which this deal is taking place," he added.
In a press conference with his Italian counterpart Zarif accused Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to sabotage the nuclear talks. 
The US and Iranian diplomats along with negotiators from the P5+1 group had met in Geneva last week to smoothen out major bumps in reaching a nuclear deal. 
"Iran needs to provide a set of verifiable set of commitments that its program is indeed peaceful. We will not accept a bad deal. No deal; is better than a bad deal. We have made some progress but we have a long way to go and the clock is ticking," said Kerry. 
Two deadlines for a permanent agreement have been missed since a November 2013 interim deal, where Iran was given limited sanctions relief in exchange for Iran diluting its stock of fissile material from 20 per cent enriched uranium to five per cent.

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