VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is prepared for “all scenarios” in talks with world powers about curbing its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, its top nuclear negotiator said on Friday when asked what would happen if no final deal was reached by July.
Diplomats have been working in Vienna this week to iron out details of a deal without announcing any breakthrough ahead of a self-imposed June 30 deadline. The current talks, led by U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, concluded on Friday, a diplomatic source said.
“Even if I’m optimistic, that doesn’t mean that any deal is acceptable. All parties want a good deal, and for Iran it’s only a good deal if our legitimate rights are respected and sanctions are finished,” top negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told Austrian news agency APA.
“We have thought of all possibilities and, accordingly, are prepared for all scenarios,” he said.
Iran, which denies seeking nuclear weapons, has said sanctions must be rescinded as soon as any final deal is signed. The United States wants a gradual lifting of restrictions tied to verified compliance by Iran with its end of the deal, a big sticking point left unresolved so far.
A framework accord reached last month also did not spell out all details about the future of Iran’s atomic research and development programme, the exact scope of the U.N. atomic watchdog’s monitoring regime, and what kind of uranium stockpile Tehran will be allowed to keep.
“We believe that solving the technical components won’t be difficult if there is veritable political will. If that is the case, the final deal can very likely be reached before the deadline,” Araqchi said.
On Thursday, he held talks with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano. The IAEA is seeking access to Iranian military sites, such as Parchin near Tehran, as part of its investigation into any possible military dimensions to Tehran’s nuclear activities.
Iran, which is extremely reluctant to allow atomic inspectors access to military sites, has been stalling the investigation since last August.
Deputy-level talks between Iran and the six powers - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - will continue next week, Araqchi told Iranian Press TV.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he was optimistic that Tehran could reach a final nuclear deal with world powers provided that they “mean it seriously,” according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine.
Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Ted Botha