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Iran says no talks with world powers other than those on nuclear programme

February 12, 2014, 23:55 UTC+3 TEHRAN
Afkham’s remarks came after statements by U.S. government officials that at the upcoming talks in Vienna next week they intended to raise the issue of Iranian ballistic missiles
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TEHRAN, February 12, 23:24 /ITAR-TASS/. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said there would be no talks with world powers other than those on the Iranian nuclear programme.

“No other issues than Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities has been on the agenda in any previous round of the negotiations with the G5+1 and the next round of the talks won’t include those issues either,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham said on Wednesday, February 12.

The Fars news agency stressed that Afkham’s remarks came after statements by U.S. government officials that at the upcoming talks in Vienna next week they intended to raise the issue of Iranian ballistic missiles and demand that it be addressed when drawing up the final draft agreement.

“Per the Joint Plan of Action, Iran must address the [United Nations] Security Council resolutions related to its nuclear programme before a comprehensive resolution can be reached,” Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council Spokesperson, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“Among other things, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 prohibits all activities involving ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches,” Meehan said. “So this issue will need to be addressed during the comprehensive discussions.”

Her statements were made after the successful test of two new missiles announced by the Iranian Defence Ministry.

Afkham described Iran’s defence programme as a main constituent the country’s overall power. “Iran has always announced its readiness to develop defensive interactions and cooperation with the regional states as an important instrument for materialising peace, security, stability and mutual trust,” Fars quoted her as saying.

The interim nuclear deal made on November 24, 2013, called for taking the first step of reciprocal actions to prove good faith in a six-month period to be followed by negotiations for a comprehensive agreement, according to which the Western governments will acknowledge the Iranian nuclear programme as civilian.

The previous round of technical consultations between Iran and the P5+1 at the level of experts ended in Geneva on December 31, 2013. A source involved in the negotiating process told ITAR-TASS that “substantial progress” had been achieved.

The main purpose of the consultations was to work out concrete steps to implement the Joint Plan of Action, which was agreed at the ministerial level in Geneva in late November 2013.

After many days of intensive discussions, the sides agreed the joint action plan in November. According to the plan, which spans a period of six months, Tehran pledged not to enrich uranium above a 5 percent concentration, not to continue fuel enrichment operations at Natanz, Fordo and Arak, and not to create new enrichment facilities.

Western countries, in turn, agreed to ease economic sanctions on Iran. Tehran will see the removal of sanctions on oil, petrochemicals, auto industry, gold and metal trades as well as parts of the aviation sector, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, adding that a total amount of 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Iranian frozen assets would ultimately be released.

Iran has already received the first 550 million U.S. dollar portion of its assets frozen earlier in Western banks. This is the first part of Iran’s 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of oil revenues that were frozen abroad. The money will be transferred to Iran in eight installments.

The Western governments will guarantee an end to the propaganda campaign against the Iranian nuclear programme and the lifting of the sanctions they imposed on Iran, IRNA said.

The deal was called the first step to be followed by a comprehensive agreement, which, on the one hand, should resolve the international community’s concerns about the Iranian nuclear programme and, on the other hand, remove economic sanctions that slow down Iran’s economic development.

The agreement reached by and between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) in Geneva last year became effective on January 20.

Araghchi told IRNA that there was a mutual understanding between Iran and G5+1 to enter into the next phase after implementing the first step of the interim agreement.

Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will resume their talks on the Iranian nuclear programme in New York in February, the IRNA news agency said in late January.

It said that a new round of talks would be held in the presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, P5+1 officials.

The news agency said that the talks would focus on drafting a comprehensive agreement which will envisage cooperation of the Western governments with Iran on its national nuclear programme.

Iran and the world powers are due to hold the next round of nuclear talks in Vienna on February 18.

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