News / Middle East

Iran: Nuclear Program to Stay 'Intact'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2014.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari, in Tehran, Feb. 26, 2014.
Reuters
Iran is willing to address international concerns about its atomic activities but will keep its nuclear program “intact”, not close it down, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.
 
His remarks signaled that Tehran will not agree to dismantle any of its atomic facilities in talks with six world powers on a final settlement of the decade-old dispute over its nuclear activity.
 
Those negotiations got under way in Vienna last week, with both sides saying they made a “good start” but conceding that their plan to achieve a long-term deal in the coming months was very ambitious.
 
By late July, Western governments hope to hammer out an accord that would lay to rest their suspicions that Iran is seeking the capability to make a nuclear bomb, an aim it denies, while Tehran wants a lifting of economic sanctions.
 
Zarif, speaking to reporters during a visit to New Delhi, said he hoped a deal would be reached by the July deadline, although talks could be extended by another half year if both sides agreed.
 
“I am hoping by the first deadline we will reach a final deal and to start implementing it,” he said. “And I can assure you that Iran has that political will and good faith that is required in order to achieve that.”
 
However, he also said there was a “problem in terms of both substance and approach”, apparently referring to the other side in the talks.
 
Iran and the powers - the United States, Russia, France, Germany, China and Britain - aim to build on an interim accord reached in November under which Tehran curbed its most sensitive nuclear work, higher-grade uranium enrichment, in exchange for some sanctions easing.
 
Diplomats and analysts acknowledge that it probably will be even more difficult to reach a final agreement as the Western powers would likely press for a significant scaling back of Iran's nuclear program, including of the number of centrifuges that it uses to refine uranium.
 
Iran says it is enriching uranium to low levels for a planned network of nuclear power plants. But uranium can also be used to assemble bombs if refined further to a high fissile concentration, which the West fears may be Iran's ultimate aim.
 
U.S. officials have made clear Iran's planned Arak heavy water reactor - which could yield bombb-grade plutonium once operational - must be dealt with under any settlement and Washington has also questioned Iran's need to have a uranium enrichment site buried deep underground at Fordow.
 
Zarif said Iran was “prepared to make sure that the program is exclusively peaceful and create the necessary understanding for the West. I believe there are multiple ways of doing that and we are willing to entertain those ways.”
 
But, he added: “I can tell you that Iran's nuclear program will remain intact. We will not close any program.”

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid