Iran's Revolutionary Guards issue warning over ongoing nuclear talks

The parties in Vienna hope to create a lasting accord out of the landmark interim deal struck in November.


Afp February 19, 2014
Jafari said that Iran "will be victorious either way" in the talks. PHOTO:FILE

VIENNA: Iran and six powers held nuclear talks for a second day Wednesday as the commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards warned against damaging "national pride" but predicted a "victorious" outcome.

Speaking in Iran, Revolutionary Guards commander General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned against crossing "red lines" that would damage the country's pride.

He has previously indicated his opposition to any dismantling of nuclear facilities, even though the chief US negotiator, Wendy Shermann, said Iran "does not need" the Fordo site or a new heavy-water reactor at Arak.

Jafari said that Iran "will be victorious either way" in the talks.

Michael Mann, spokesperson for the powers' lead negotiator and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said the talks in Vienna were "substantive" and "useful".

He declined to comment, however, on the substance of the meetings between Iran with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, nor on whether they would continue on Thursday as scheduled, nor on a date for the next round.

Ashton is due to chair a meeting in Brussels on Thursday afternoon of EU foreign ministers on the situation on Ukraine. It was unclear if this meant the Iran talks must finish by then.

The parties in Vienna hope to create a lasting accord out of the landmark interim deal struck in November, under which Iran agreed to freeze certain nuclear activities for six months.

In exchange, the Western governments offered minor relief from a range of punishing sanctions that have cost Iran up to $8 billion per month in lost oil revenues, as well as a promise of no new sanctions.

The six-month deal expires on July 20 but can be extended, with the parties aiming to conclude negotiations and implement the final "comprehensive" deal by November.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said late Tuesday that the talks had "started on the right track".

"We have a shared objective, and that is for Iran to have a nuclear programme that is exclusively peaceful," he said from Vienna in a webcast discussion with Denver University's Center for Middle East Studies.

He said a deal was "totally achievable" but would take more than "one or two sittings" and would require "some innovation and some forward thinking".

Others have been considerably more circumspect about the prospects for a deal that satisfies hardliners on both sides, as well as other countries such as Israel, after a decade of failed initiatives and rising tensions.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that this effort would "go nowhere" but that he was not against trying.

The aim of the final deal would be for Iran to retain its civilian nuclear programme, but likely on a reduced scale and with enhanced oversight in order to ensure a dash for nuclear weapons is all but impossible.

In exchange for a full lifting of sanctions, the powers want Iran's nuclear programme to be within what the Geneva deal called "mutually agreed parameters consistent with (Iran's) practical needs" and for a "long-term duration".

Iran has long been suspected of seeking atomic weapons, despite its denials, and the US and Israel -- the latter assumed to have a large atomic arsenal itself -- have never ruled out military action.

Further upping the ante between the two foes, Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday blamed a double suicide car bombing near an Iranian cultural centre in Beirut that killed four people on Israeli "agents".

COMMENTS (2)

Jahangir Chauhan | 7 years ago | Reply Pakistan Iran friendship and brotherhood forever. Stop Saudi meddling in our own internal affairs by interfering Syria's matter which is the reason Iran reacted this way in such a harsh way and justifiably. For us our country border countries should be most important other taking few billion dollars crude oil on deferred payments and give hostage to our foreign relations with Iran.The best way is to be neutral in Syria's affair.
JohnWV | 7 years ago | Reply

As a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty, Iran accepts continuing IAEA inspection and has an internationally recognized right to develop and implement nuclear technology. Having rejected both IAEA inspection and the NPT, Israel has no such right. Yet the Jewish State has hundreds of nukes and openly threatens Iran, actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the $$$ billions we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. A nuclear Iran would disrupt Israel's brutish Mideast hegemony and just might make Mideast peace possible.

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