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      Rouhani: Iran Determined to Reach Final Deal with West

      Iran’s President says Tehran is determined to reach a “comprehensive and final” agreement with the six major world powers.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 2/24/2014, 4:44 AM

      Hassan Rouhani
      Hassan Rouhani
      Reuters

      Iran’s President on Sunday said that Tehran was determined to reach a “comprehensive and final” agreement with the six major world powers, PressTV reported.

      “Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities are transparent and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and we want the preservation of all the principal rights of our nation in the final agreement,” Rouhani was quoted as having said in a meeting with visiting Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders in Tehran on Sunday.

      He expressed hope that the six world powers, known as the P5+1, would also contribute to the building of “the first step of confidence” between Iran and the West.

      “Sanctions, particularly unilateral sanctions, are a breach of human rights and against the interests of nations,” he added, according to PressTV.

      The Iranian president described the relations between Tehran and Brussels as historical and positive, saying, “Belgium should play a greater role in the expansion of ties between Iran and the European Union (EU).”

      Rouhani said Iran is the anchor of peace and stability in the region and added that Tehran and the EU can cooperate on regional and international issues.

      The Belgian foreign minister, for his part, said that his country is keen to improve relations with Iran.

      The meeting comes several days after Iran and the P5+1 convened in Vienna for talks on a permanent nuclear deal.

      Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is Iran’s top negotiator in the talks, said both sides came up with a framework for comprehensive negotiations to reach a final agreement. The meeting in Vienna was described as "constructive and useful."

      After years of talks, Iran and the six world powers reached a six-month interim nuclear deal in November. That deal went into effect on January 20.

      Under the agreement, Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent, halting production of 20 percent-enriched uranium. In return, the European Union and the United States have eased crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

      The parties hope to create a lasting accord out of the interim deal, which expires on July 20 but can be extended, with the parties aiming to conclude negotiations and implement the final "comprehensive" deal by November.

      Over the weekend, the chief American negotiator for talks with Iran, Wendy Sherman, arrived in Israel in order to brief leaders on the talks in Vienna.

      Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Sherman said the United States hopes no one will interfere with the talks, in what appeared to be a warning to Israel.

      "It will be critical that our negotiators and partners have the space to get this done diplomatically. The talks with Iran will be very hard and we can't afford to make it even harder," she said.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said, as have other Israeli leaders, that the interim agreement that was signed with Iran in November is dangerous and will allow Tehran to continue its nuclear program and give nothing back to the West while being rewarded with sanctions relief.

      Speaking on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting and ahead of Monday’s visit to Israel by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is one of the P5+1, Netanyahu said, "I see with concern that Iran believes that it will realize its plan to be a nuclear threshold state, with the ability to continue enrichment, develop nuclear weapons, and develop surface-to-surface intercontinental missiles without being interfered with."

      "This - a combination of enrichment, weapons and launch capability, says that Iran actually gets everything and gives virtually nothing. This is the current situation."

      "We cannot allow a permanent agreement to perpetuate the situation," he continued. "It should dismantle Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons [. . .] this has not yet been achieved, and without intervention by [Western] powers it will not be achieved."

      "I hope that Germany and the other parties in the P5 +1 will stand firm on demands pose a real prevent Iran from being a nuclear threshold state," Netanyahu stressed.