Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have reached an additional seven-point agreement on inspections and supervision of nuclear facilities, just over a week before Tehran and the 5+1 Powers begin talks on a comprehensive nuclear deal.
After two days of talks, the two sides announced measures that include steps toward an arrangement for the Arak heavy-water reactor, due on-line in late 2014; information and access to the Saghand uranium mine and the Ardakan concentration plant and the Lashkar Abad Laser Centre; and information on Iran’s development of detonators.
In November, just before Iran and the 5+1 Powers signed an interim nuclear deal, Tehran and the IAEA agreed a six-point plan. Steps included visits to the Gachin uranium mine and the Arak reactor, both of which have been carried out in recent weeks.
The agreement did not halt Iran’s campaign of tough talk against the US before next week’s talks in Vienna on the comprehensive deal. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi denounced new American sanctions against Iranian individuals and companies as “against the spirit of cooperation and understanding in the implementation of the Geneva deal”.
Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a leading advocate of engagement with the West, called on the US and its partners to “stop resorting to excuses” and advised them “not to speak with the language of intimidation”.
In an interview on State TV on Sunday night, Araqchi reiterated that Iran’s right to enrichment of uranium is a “red line” which is “non-negotiable”.
On the military front, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps continued their declarations that the US will be defeated if it attacks Iran.
“The Americans can sense by all means how their warships will be sunk with 5,000 crews and forces in combat against Iran and how they should find its hulk in the depths of the sea,” Guards’ Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said on Sunday.
The Guards said in a statement: “The defensive power of the Armed Forces and all-out preparedness of the IRGC and Basijis (militia) for resolute and crushing confrontation against any threat has provided a firm and decisive backup for the promotion of the Islamic Revolution’s goals and ideals in various areas, including the nuclear negotiations.”
MPs Criticize Rouhani Over Failure to Support Military
MPs have accused President Rouhani of failing to support Iran’s military.
In a letter to the President, the legislators said:
Unfortunately, for the first time in 10 years, the secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council has refused to grant permission for holding the annual major missile exercise of the armed forces and the necessary orders for allocating funds for the emergency plans of the armed forces have not been issued.
It is necessary for the president to support the armed forces more seriously so that they can expand their military capabilities and hold military exercises.
Lawmakers also asked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif why he “failed to support the country’s defensive progress” and why foreign experts have not been allowed to travel to Iran to help develop Tehran’s missile capability.
Iran Criticizes Pakistan Over Abduction of 5 Border Guards
Iran has lashed out at Pakistan after a Sunni insurgent group abducted five Iranian border guards on Friday.
The guards were seized by the faction Jaish ul-Adl, which has carried out a series of attacks since last year, in Sistan-Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran.
“We are unhappy with the Pakistani government over the abduction of our guards and their transfer to Pakistan,” Iran Police Chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghadam said.
The Foreign Ministry in Tehran summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires, demanding that Islamabad “act firmly against the leaders and members of the terrorist group who have fled into Pakistan”.