| Abu Dhabi, April 16
Abu Dhabi, April 16 Iranian Foreign Minister
Javad Zarif said he does not fear opposition from hardliners as
he leads negotiations to reach a comprehensive agreement about
Iran's nuclear program with world powers by the end of July.
"I am optimistic" that a deal will be reached in three
months, he told Reuters in Abu Dhabi. "There is the political
will to get an answer," he added as he boarded a plane back to
Tehran on Tuesday.
Iran and six world powers - the United States, France,
Germany, Britain, Russia and China - struck an interim deal in
November under which Tehran agreed to limit parts of its nuclear
work in return for the easing of some sanctions imposed on Iran
for its disputed atomic program. They have set a July 20
deadline to clinch a long-term deal that would lead to a gradual
lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions.
Iranian hardliners, unsettled by the shift to a more
moderate foreign policy since President Hassan Rouhani took
office in August, have repeatedly criticized the agreement.
However, Iran's most powerful authority, Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has backed the negotiations.
"The domestic audience will be satisfied if we have a good
deal," said Zarif when asked if he feared domestic pushback. "Of
course some people will never be satisfied but that is fine
because we have a pluralistic society."
In their latest criticism of the interim agreement, some
hardliners have said Iran has had difficulty receiving billions
of dollars of oil revenue unfrozen under the agreement. Majid
Takht-Ravanchi, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, rejected the
assertion on Tuesday, saying Iran's central bank has no problem
accessing the funds, according to state news agency IRNA.
Iran and the six powers ended their latest round of talks in
Vienna last week and said they would start drafting an agreement
ahead of their next meeting there on May 13.
The Islamic Republic denies accusations by Israel, Western
powers and their allies that it has tried to develop the
capability to produce atomic weapons under the cover of a
civilian nuclear energy program.
During his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Zarif met with
officials including Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed
an-Nahyan and Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui.
Efforts to resolve the civil war in Syria were also among the
topics discussed, but officials did not elaborate.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)