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Iran's Deputy FM: We'll Hold Bilateral Talks with the U.S.

Iran will hold bilateral talks with the P5+1 but will negotiate on its right to enrich uranium, declares Deputy Foreign Minister.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/14/2013, 4:42 AM

Bushehr nuclear power plant
Bushehr nuclear power plant
AFP photo

Iran will hold bilateral talks with members of the six world powers, known as the P5+1, including the United States, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday.

According to the IRNA news agency, the bilateral talks will take place on the sidelines of the nuclear talks due to be held in Geneva on October 15-16.

Araqchi, who is a member of the Iranian negotiating team, told IRNA in an exclusive interview that bilateral talks between the Iranian delegation and P5+1 members, including the U.S., is something normal.

Asked whether the negotiations will include Iran’s uranium enrichment, Araqchi declared that Iran’s right to enrich uranium is non-negotiable, but the level and amount of uranium enrichment can be discussed during the talks.

Asked about the possibility of Iran being asked to remove nuclear materials from the country, the deputy foreign minister said that Iran “will never give up what the Iranians are entitled to based on international conventions,” according to IRNA, adding although Iran is ready to discuss the level of enrichment, “the exit of nuclear materials is our red line.”

Iran is seeking real negotiations, he stated, adding that the Islamic Republic is not looking to waste time in the upcoming nuclear talks and does not want negotiations for the sake of negotiations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will leave Tehran for Geneva on Monday, heading a delegation for the meeting in Geneva, the first nuclear talks since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected.

Since being elected, Rouhani, who has been branded a moderate by the West, has urged the world to seize the opportunity of his election to resolve the nuclear dispute.

Rouhani wants sanctions imposed by the West on his country lifted and has indicated he favors a quick deal to end a stalemate to talks on the nuclear program, which have dragged on for eight years.

Israel, however, has warned the West against Rouhani’s “smile attack”.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in a slew of interviews with influential European media last week, warned the West not to allow Iran to continue to enrich uranium.

In one interview with the television channel France24, Netanyahu urged France to be tough on Iran "with or without Rouhani's smiles."

In another interview with the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Netanyahu called for sanctions on the Tehran regime to be stepped up rather than eased.

"A bad deal is worse than no deal," the prime minister was quoted as telling the newspaper.