Zarif: We Won't Give Up Our Right to Enrich
Iran’s Foreign Minister said on Friday he was hopeful for a deal with the West over his country’s nuclear program.
At the same, he stressed that Iran will not give up on its right to enrich uranium.
"I am always hopeful. It is not possible to drive ahead without hope," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by The Associated Press as having told the semi-official Fars news agency.
"Of course, hope doesn't necessarily mean going without open eyes," he added.
Talks between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last week failed to end in an agreement on Iran’s controversial nuclear program. However, the talks will resume next week.
Both Iran and the United States have blamed each other for the failure to reach an agreement to limit Tehran's uranium enrichment in exchange for an easing of Western sanctions.
Zarif declared there was no chance of success at the next round if the West ignores Iran's demand of enriching uranium.
"Any agreement that does not recognize the rights of the Iranian people and does not respect these rights, has no chance," he said.
Echoing Zarif's hopes, Ayatollah Kazem Seddighi, an advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said during the Friday prayers sermon in Tehran there was still an opportunity for a deal.
"There are still grounds (for agreement) if everybody is tolerant," Sedighi said. "We expect the West to use this opportunity."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended the talks last week, has indicated that Iran turned down the deal that was offered to it.
Kerry said this week that "the P5+1 was unified on Saturday when we presented our proposal to the Iranians... But Iran couldn't take it, at that particular moment they weren't able to accept."
These comments were rejected by Zarif, who hit back at Kerry saying that it was the U.S. that delayed a deal.
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Wednesday that Iran had been offered to scale back its nuclear program and receive some sanctions relief in return.
Meanwhile, a senior American official said Friday that the United States and other countries are "getting close" to an interim deal with Iran that would prevent its nuclear program "from advancing, and roll it back" in key areas.