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Zarif: We Don't Need Our Enrichment Right to be Recognized

Iran's Foreign Minister says his country's right to enrich uranium is part of the NPT.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/18/2013, 6:15 AM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that his country does not need other countries to recognize its right to enrich uranium.

Iran has a right to enrich uranium, he told the local ISNA news agency, based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Asked about recent remarks by U.S. officials that they would not recognize the “inherent right” of any country to enrichment, Zarif said, "These remarks do not mean that countries are not entitled to enrich uranium. It does not mean that they are against Iran's enrichment and do not recognize it."

He added, "Iran's enrichment right does not need recognition, because it is an inseparable right based on the NPT. What we expect is respecting parts of this right.”

Zarif argued that Iran has been practicing its enrichment rights for several years, but this right has not only not been respected but it has, in fact, been violated by sanctions imposed against the country.

He further added that the world powers need to lift the sanctions imposed against Iran and respect its rights.

"We believe that Iran's enrichment right is nonnegotiable and there is no necessity to recognize it as a right, because it is an inseparable right which should be respected by all sides," said Zarif.

Talks in Geneva between Iran and six world powers, which ended with no agreement the last time around, will resume on November 20.

On Friday, Zarif said he was hopeful for a deal with the West over his country’s nuclear program but stressed that Iran will not give up on its right to enrich uranium.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that there is a “very good chance” of reaching a long-sought deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

“Now there are no fundamental disagreements on the issues that need to be resolved in practical terms,” and what is necessary is to “correctly draw up the agreement we have reached in diplomatic language to make it a truly joint document rather than the one imposed from outside,” Lavrov noted.

He added that the last round of talks in Geneva showed for the first time in many years that the six world powers and Iran are “ready to seek common ground instead of presenting mostly uncorrelated views.”

Referring to the future of the talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1, Zarif told ISNA, "I think that there is no serious disagreement on shared goal and the final perspective."

Israel has repeatedly warned that the deal being offered to Iran is a dangerous one and would allow it to continue its nuclear program, leading to a public fight with American officials over the issue.

The latest report on Sunday said that President Barack Obama had been deliberately snubbing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and has refused to answer Netanyahu’s phone calls "more than once."