Iran’s missiles never on nuclear talks agenda: Araqchi
A top Iranian nuclear negotiator says Tehran will never hold talks about its defense system and ballistic missiles with the P5+1 group.
“We will not negotiate about the country’s ballistic missiles and defense system and will not put them to debate,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is also a top nuclear negotiator, said on Tuesday at the end of the first day of the fresh round of nuclear talks with the P5+1 group representatives.
He added that only the nuclear issue will be discussed in talks between Iran and the six countries.
He also expressed Iran’s determination to proceed with its peaceful enrichment activities.
“Enrichment will continue. It will neither be suspended nor stopped, but its dimensions will be determined during the talks,” Araqchi said.
The Iranian negotiator stressed that the nuclear talks can result in a comprehensive deal if the opposite side shows the necessary goodwill and seriousness.
“We have entered talks with seriousness and goodwill while insisting on our positions and rights, and expect that the negotiations will be finalized in [the scheduled] six months. However, it cannot be predicted when this will happen,” Araqchi pointed out.
The latest round of high-level nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the US, Britain, Russia, France and China -- plus Germany started in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s talks were presided over by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who heads the six countries in the nuclear discussions.
Iran and the six world powers reached an interim deal on November 24, 2013, in the Swiss city of Geneva. The deal took effect on January 20.
Under the Geneva deal, the six countries agreed 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 would be imposed on the Islamic Republic within the same time frame.