Nuke Talks: Latest from Iran, P5+1

June 15, 2015

Deputy foreign ministers from Iran and the world’s six major powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States – held a new round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program from June 10 to 14 in Vienna. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was recovering from a broken leg at his home in Massachusetts, said he was “hopeful” an agreement could be reached by the June 30 deadline. But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that progress in the talks was “progressively slowing down,” describing the pace as “worrying.” International inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities seemed to be a key sticking point. President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would not allow “its secrets to fall into the hands of others under the guise of implementing the protocol” that would require additional inspections. Talks were set to resume in Vienna on June 17.

The following are excerpted remarks from officials on the talks.
 
Iran
 
President Hassan Rouhani  
 
“No one in the country should have any doubts about the observance of frameworks and red lines in the nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 countries.” 

“After [the conclusion] of the final agreement in the nuclear negotiations, all economic sanctions and [those] against the Central Bank of Iran must be lifted.” 
—June 14, 2015, according to the press 
 
“We will not waste time, but we should also not restrict ourselves to a specific deadline.”
 
“One thing is for certain: Iran will not allow its secrets to fall into the hands of others under the guise of implementing the protocol,” referring to an additional protocol of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that would allow more inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
—June 13, 2015, according to the press
 
"A problem we face on many issues is that when we reach a framework in one meeting, our negotiating partners go back on it in the next meeting.”
 
"If the other side sticks to the framework that has been established, and does not bring new issues into play, I believe it can be solved... But if they want to take the path of brinkmanship, the negotiations could take longer."
 
"What is important to Iran is that, in implementing this protocol, we make it clear to the world that the accusations we have faced about trying to build a bomb are baseless."
—June 13, 2015, according to the press
 
"We are now in a place that no one would have believed two years ago. All P5+1 countries recognise our rights to enrich uranium. Everyone also agreed that the tyrannical, unjustified and inhumane sanctions must be lifted when an agreement is signed. Now there are problems in the talks and those are just simple legal issues that I am hopeful we will overcome.”
—June 14, 2015, according to the press
 
Senior Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati  
 
Based on the stance of the [Islamic] establishment and Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei], inspection of Iran’s military sites is forbidden and no permission will be given to any foreigners, American or otherwise, to inspect our country’s military and sensitive sites. 
 
They [the Westerners] are looking for an excuse to cause inconvenience and [impose] sanctions [on Tehran]. 
 
Those who were bent on bringing our country to its knees through economic isolation will finally be defeated. 
—June 8, 2015 to the press 
 
Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan 
 
"We do not accede to any sanctions, threats and oppression in the (nuclear) negotiations." 
—June 14, 2015, according to the press 
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi
 
"There are streams within the US which don’t want the negotiations to produce results and all their efforts are aimed at stopping the negotiations.”
 
"The main discussions in the negotiations are focused on the issues related to the sanctions, Research and Development (R&D) and the details of both sides' undertakings.”
—June 16, 2015, according to the press 
 
Envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi 
 
"The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize the baseless and void accusations raised under the 'PMD' title." 
 
"We have on various occasions declared that the documents presented for these allegations are forged and we have always informed the Agency (IAEA) of this issue in our meetings." 
 
"We have stated that if the Agency insists on the veracity of its information, then why they do not welcome Iran's offer for visiting the (nuclear) site in Mariwan." 
 
"The Agency report says that Iran has carried out banned activities in Mariwan region, and when we declared that we are ready to take the Agency (inspectors) to that region and provide them with managed access to any point that they like, the Agency shrugged off providing a response." 
 
"And this shows that the Agency has been fed with wrong information." 
—June 12, 2015, according to the press 
 
United States
 
Secretary of State John Kerry
 
“You know, some things have gotten hard. Some things are progressing.”

“It’s hard. It’s a hard negotiation. We haven’t talked to each other in 35 years. There’s huge suspicion. And huge stakes.”
 
When asked whether he was optimistic, he said, “I’ve never said optimistic. I’ve always said hopeful. I’m hopeful.”
 
“Could we get an agreement? For sure. Could it fail? Yes.”
 
“If you don’t get this done on the schedule, then mischief-makers step in everywhere. You have plenty of folks in Iran who would love to not see the deal, hard-liners. . . . You have people here in the United States who don’t want the deal.”
 
“I know sometimes people lob political grenade suggesting there’s not a strategy and this and that,” Kerry said. “I can’t think of a time in history where America’s leadership has been more critical to as many different issues simultaneously as right now.”
—June 13, 2015, in an interview with the Boston Globe
 
"The possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in."

"What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way. That clearly is one of the requirements in our judgment for what has to be achieved in order to have a legitimate agreement. And in order to have an agreement to trigger any kind of material significant sanctions relief, we would have to have those answers."
—June 16, 2015, at a press availability
 
Russia 
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov 
 
The rate of progress... is progressively slowing down. This is very worrying to us because there is very little time before the deadline and we urgently need to enter the final stage.” 
—June 12, 2015 to the press via AFP 
 
"P5+1 and Iran have reached understanding about the future configuration of the heavy-water reactor in Arak, but the sides are still unclear on who will reconfigure the reactor, when, how and with what kind of financing." 
 
"Without answering these questions, we will not be able to move forward towards the final agreements." 
 
"The issue of when ministers can join the negotiations process will be raised at the meeting of the sextet." 
 
"The only acceptable and universal solution of the issue is the Iran-IAEA framework document and the continuation of the discussion on how this document will be used for future agreements which… will give IAEA very large tasks and will put Iran in front of the necessity to solve the issue of access to its objects." 
—June 11, 2015, according to the press 
 
France 
 
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius 
 
If we want to be sure that the accord is solid we need to be able to inspect the sites... We don't yet have this certainty. This is one of the points we are discussing. 

The agreement needs to be verifiable, solid, robust and right now we don't have such a guarantee.” 
—June 11, 2015 to French channel BFMTV and radio station RMC via AFP