Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday called on world powers to “seize the opportunity” of a landmark nuclear deal with his country, AFP reported, and insisted Tehran had taken the “necessary steps” for an accord.
Rouhani’s remarks appeared to be a response to U.S. President Barack Obama, who had said on Monday, “The issues now are – does Iran have the political will and the desire to get a deal done?”
Speaking in Tehran, Rouhani said although gaps remain between Iran and the six world powers - known as the P5+1 - it was up to them to close a deal.
“Right now good progress has been made although we are some distance away from the final agreement,” he said during a meeting with India’s national security adviser, Ajit Doval.
“Iran has taken necessary steps and now it’s the other side’s turn to seize the opportunity,” added Rouhani.
At a speech later Tuesday to mark the 36th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Rouhani told foreign diplomats Iran still believed in a “win-win solution” in the talks.
“In recent months we have shown the flexibility necessary to resolve this political issue,” he was quoted by AFP as having said. “We hope that the other negotiating party can show more than before. If so ... in a short time the disputes can be resolved.”
Iran and the six world powers reached an interim deal in November of 2013, under which 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.
The sides were then supposed to continue talks and turn the interim deal into a permanent. However, the talks have stalled and two deadlines for a final deal have been missed, with a third one looming on July 1.
Both the U.S. and Iran have said in recent days they are against further time being added to the talks.
"I do not think another extension is in the interest of anyone, as I do not believe this extension was either necessary or useful," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a global security conference in Munich.
"In my view extension is not useful, not conducive to an agreement, and all my energy and focus and that of my colleagues and I'm sure my negotiating partners .... are all focused on reaching an agreement as early as possible," he added.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said he could accept a compromise in nuclear talks with Iran, as long as the deal is “fair” and not “contrary to our nation’s interests”, as he put it.
Recent reports indicated that the United States is ceding ground to Iran in talks and will now allow it to “keep much of its uranium-enrichingtechnology,” thus allowing Iran to maintain its self-proclaimed “right to enrich uranium”.
Before the talks were extended until July, Iran was toughening its stance, with chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi saying he sees no prospect for a deal unless the other side abandons its “illogical excessive demands”.
A senior Iranian official followed those comments by declaring that Iran will demand that all Western sanctions be lifted as part of a final deal, rejecting an American proposal of a gradual lifting of sanctions.