Iran Threatens to Resume Enrichment if Talks Fail

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister: It's possible to reach an agreement with the West, but if not we'll resume uranium enrichment.

Elad Benari ,

Bushehr nuclear reactor
Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Thursday that Iran would resume uranium enrichment activities if no agreement is reached with the West, Reuters reports.

Speaking at a conference in Rome, Araqchi said he believed it was possible for Iran to reach an accord with world powers in time for a July 20 deadline, with drafting of final proposals due to begin next week.

"We need hard work and wisdom and logic to overcome disagreements," Iran's Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

"Iran will return to 20 percent enrichment if a deal cannot be reached ... failure to reach a deal will be a disaster for everyone," he added.

Iran and six world powers have been holding talks on curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for an end to western sanctions.

The ongoing talks seek to turn an interim deal reached in November into a permanent agreement by July 20. Under the interim deal, Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent and is gradually winning access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad and some other sanctions relief.

Final agreement has been held up by differences over issues including the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges that would be available to Iran and diplomats have said there may have to be an extension.

Senior U.S. officials met with Araqchi earlier this week in Geneva. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked about a series of bilateral meetings officials from the six-power group held with Iranian officials in Europe this week ahead of next week's negotiations in Vienna.

Throughout the talks, Iran has declared that it will never give up on what it sees as its right to enrichment.