Iranian nuclear problem should be settled by political and diplomatic means - BRICS countries
"In this context, we welcome the positive momentum generated by talks between Iran and the E3+3 (or the P5+1 group) and encourage the thorough implementation of the Geneva Joint Plan of Action of 24 November 2013, with a view to achieving a comprehensive and long-lasting solution to this issue."
The BRICS countries have called on Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "to continue strengthening their cooperation and dialogue on the basis of the Joint Statement signed on 11 November 2013."
"We recognize Iran's inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in a manner consistent with its international obligations," the Declaration says, reports Itar-Tass.
Iran and six world powers have managed to remove some of their differences during a fresh round of nuclear talks in Vienna, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters on Sunday. It will be clear in the coming days whether the sides will be able to finalize the agreement by the 20 July deadline fixed in last year’s Geneva accords, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Sunday.
The Geneva deal commits Tehran to provide guarantees of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program in exchange of a phased lifting of the international sanctions against Iran.
Earlier reports indicated sharp disagreement between Iran and the United States over how many uranium enrichment centrifuges Iran should be allowed to have and over the future of its heavy-water reactor near Arak.
Iran's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says Tehran has no interest in building an atomic bomb, despite Western powers' claims to the contrary. Zarif's comments, in a television interview, due to be broadcast on Sunday, when Iran engages in talks with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, aimed at a grand bargain reducing in scope the Islamic republic's nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
"I will commit to everything and anything that would provide credible assurances for the international community that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, because we are not," Zarif told NBC's "Meet the Press" from Vienna, where the talks are taking place.
"We don't see any benefit in Iran developing a nuclear weapon."
Zarif rejected "calculations" suggesting the Shiite country would seek to develop nuclear weapons to guard itself against its Shiite neighbors.
"We need to go out of our way to convince our neighbors that we want to live in peace and tranquility with them," he said.
"The politics of geography, the fact that we're bigger, the fact that we're stronger, that we're more populous, the fact that we have better technology, the fact that our human resources are by far more developed than most of our neighbors, all of these provide us with inherent areas of strength that we don't need to augment with other capabilities."
Calling the principle of nuclear deterrence "simply mad," the foreign minister insisted that Pakistan was not considered stronger than Iran simply because it has nuclear weapons.
"I do not believe that you need to inculcate this mentality that nuclear weapons make anybody safe. Have they made Pakistan safe? Have they made Israel safe? Have they made the United States safe? Have they made Russia safe? All these countries are susceptible," Zarif said, AFP reports.
"Now you have proof that nuclear weapons, and no amount of military power makes you safe. So we need to live in a different paradigm and that's what we are calling for."
The foreign ministers of P5+1 group of countries (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) will join negotiations on Iran's nuclear program upon arriving in the Austrian capital this weekend. Critical differences that make it impossible to draft the final document before July 20, as initially planned, makes their presence in Vienna imperative. US Secretary of State John Kerry, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier and French foreign policy chief, Laurent Fabius, have confirmed they are going to Vienna.
Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, who is accompanying President Vladimir Putin on his Latin American tour, will not take part in the ministerial meeting. Instead, Vladimir Voronkov, Russia's Permanent Representative to international organizations in Vienna, will represent Russia at the consultations. However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov will continue to head the Russian delegation.
Sunday's working schedule and the meeting format has not yet been agreed. A diplomatic source close to the consultations, which have been under way since July 2, told Itar-Tass that problems had emerged simultaneously in several fields over recent days.
First, despite making considerable progress in writing the draft document, representatives of the six nations could not bring their positions closer on a number of key issues such as the parameters for Iran's enrichment program, the operation of a research reactor in Arak and the research facility at Fordo, as well as a package of issues concerning the possible military orientation of Iran's nuclear program and a schedule for implementing the agreement and its deadlines.
The second systemic difficulty to have arisen in recent days, is linked to differences within the P5+1 group. "The United States has always placed high demands on Iran; France's stance has also been tough," the diplomatic source told Itar-Tass. On the contrary, the Russian side believes that excessive demands should not be lodged and that an agreement with Tehran should not create a precedent for tightening control over other countries.
"Our aim is to achieve that no one perceives a future agreement with Iran as a precedent for creating new standards of activities for other countries and organizations in this sphere," Sergei Ryabkov, the head of the Russian delegation, said recently. He added that, while the group of six remained united in its negotiations with Iran, each country should defend its national interests.
"There is a combination of coordinated effort and national interests. The unity of the group of six is important for creating conditions for achieving a result. However, this unity cannot overshadow other things such as national interests which should be put at the head," Ryabkov said. Commenting on a statement of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius who said that Russia's stance was allegedly slowing down the talks, Ryabkov noted that the P5+1 group was not a guard of honor near a monument to Iran's nuclear problem that marched in step and saluted to a whistle.
"The group of six consists of countries which have their own interests in various spheres. There is nothing new or dramatic here, noting that could hinder the talks. The course of things implies that various priorities advance to the forefront at various stages," Ryabkov explained.