PHOTO: President Rouhani (right) and Head of Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi unveil nuclear centrifuges on Sunday
On the eve of the resumption of talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have drawn firm lines on the Islamic Republic’s “nuclear rights”.
Speaking at the unveiling of three new types of nuclear medicine, Rouhani emphasized Iran’s peaceful uses of uranium while saying Iran “will not give in to nuclear apartheid”.
(The) claim that Iran has had secret activities is a blatant lie. If we wanted to be secretive, we wouldn’t attempt to purchase centrifuges at global markets. Neither would we negotiate with international companies during the process of fuel production and uranium enrichment.
Rouhani asserted, “We wanted to tell the world that our activities are moving in the right direction: If we say we can enrich (uranium) to 3.5%, we can do it. If necessary, we will do 20%.”
Foreign Minister Zarif told the former Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, that a comprehensive agreement must create the opportunity for Iran to exercise its “inalienable” right to use peaceful nuclear energy.
He cited “mutual mistrust” but put the onus on the US and European countries: “Given that the western states failed to abide by their commitments towards Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran made efforts to meet its need for peaceful nuclear energy through relying on its own capabilities.”
Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) begin their fourth set of talks on a comprehensive agreement on Tuesday in Vienna. The two sides are seeking a deal before an interim Joint Plan of Agreement ends on July 20.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Sunday that Iran and the 5+1 will start drawing up a draft of the final nuclear deal in Vienna. Issues include the level of Iran’s enrichment of uranium, the status of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities, and the lifting of US-led sanctions on Tehran.
Reformist Journalist Mirdamadi Detained
Reformist journalist Sarajeddin Mirdamadi was detained on Saturday after he was summoned for questioning at Evin Prison.
No bail is being allowed.
Mirdamadi has written for Radio Zamaneh and several now-banned newspapers. His passport was seized at the airport when he returned from France soon after the 2013 Presidential election.
The journalist was initially charged with “acting against national security”, with “assembly and collusion” added later.
Supreme Leader Says West “Stupid” to Expect Iran’s Missiles in Nuclear Deal
Speaking to a Revolutionary Guards command on Sunday, the Supreme Leader has repeated Tehran’s line that its missiles cannot be included in any comprehensive nuclear agreement:
Ayatollah Khamenei, who made the remarks on Sunday during a visit to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces’ Central Command, was reacting to a request made by world powers currently engaged in nuclear talks with Iran.
(The West) expect limits to Iran’s missile program while persistently threatening Iran with military [action]. Therefore, such an expectation is stupid and foolish.
He continued, “The arrogant front is making efforts to bring the Iranian nation to its knees and force it into retreat, but it will definitely not achieve this goal.”
Iranian officials have repeatedly said that Tehran’s conventional military activities are not part of the nuclear talks, seeking a comprehensive settlement after November’s interim Joint Plan of Action.
In a display of Iran’s strength, the Supreme Leader was attending the unveiling of a domestically-produced version of a US drone captured in November 2011.