Iran: Don't be Influenced by 'Third Parties'

In a likely reference to Israel, Iran urges West to resist pressure from third parties not involved in nuclear negotiations.

Elad Benari ,

Ashton and Zarif
Ashton and Zarif

Iran urged western powers on Tuesday to resist any pressure from third parties not directly involved in negotiations over its nuclear activities, AFP reports.

While Israel was not mentioned by name, the comments by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif most likely referred to the Jewish state, which has warned against an interim nuclear deal signed with the Islamic Republic.

Zarif, quoted by the official IRNA news agency after meetings with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, also called for "seriousness and realism," in the next round of nuclear talks in Vienna next month.

After a second day of discussions with Ashton in Istanbul, Zarif said the P5 + 1 powers (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany) should avoid "illusions which might be exerted on them by some pressure groups and people outside the negotiations."

Zarif also said reaching an agreement was "completely possible" and that the Islamic Republic would participate in the talks with "seriousness, accuracy and without any rush."

He condemned as "brutal obstacles" the sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear activities, pledging that their eventual removal was "the basis of our work" in seeking a comprehensive deal that would "preserve the rights and dignity of the nation."

The next round of talks on resolving Western concerns will take place in Vienna on June 16-20, according to AFP.

Talks earlier this month made no tangible progress, with a July 20 deadline for a conclusive agreement looming on the horizon and major issues still outstanding.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been vocal about his opposition to the interim deal signed with Iran in November, which he says is dangerous and allows Iran to continue its nuclear program while getting sanctions relief.

He repeated those warnings in a recent meeting with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, telling Hagel that world powers must deny Iran any possibility of developing a nuclear weapon as the search for a deal intensifies.