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Iran’s president offers transparency in nuclear talks

© AFP / HO / PRESIDENCY WEBSITE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-05-11

Iran’s President Hassan Rohani on Sunday said his country has nothing to offer except transparency in the upcoming nuclear talks with world powers, adding that the Islamic Republic does not seek nuclear weapons.

In a live speech aired on Iranian state television, Rohani said “we do not have anything on the table to submit to others except transparency.”

Iran and six world powers will begin their latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna on Tuesday during which they will start drafting the text of a comprehensive and potentially historic deal.

In November, Iran agreed to cap its uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions easing. It is now negotiating a final deal over its contested nuclear program.

Such a deal would reduce the scope of Iran's nuclear programme in order to make any push towards atomic weapons all but impossible, while removing sanctions strangling Iran's economy.

Some Iranian hard-liners, however, claim Rohani’s administration has given up too many concessions to the West in return for too little.

If achieved, the deal could resolve one of the most intractable geopolitical problems of the 21st century after a decade of diplomatic failure, rising tensions and talk of war, and even help mend US-Iran relations.

"If the odds of the talks collapsing are high, the stakes of failure are higher," Ali Vaez, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, said. "Time is of the essence."

The deadline for the November deal ends on July 20.

After the last round of talks, held in April, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that there was agreement on "50-60 percent" of issues.

But with both sides sticking to the mantra that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", this is not enough.

"Even two percent (of issues) can torpedo all of it," Zarif told Iranian media. And the remaining issues are "important ones," he said.

Vaez said the toughest topics are the future scope of Iran's uranium enrichment capacities, capable of producing the business bit of a nuclear bomb, and "untangling the spider web" of sanctions.

Further hurdles to clear include Iran's development of new centrifuges that can enrich many times faster than the current models, and tougher inspections by the United Nations’ atomic watchdog.

Others are Iran's development of ballistic missiles, which could carry nuclear warheads and its answers to questions about past alleged "military dimensions" to its nuclear work.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2014-05-11

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