Iran Foreign Minister says Tehran open to nuclear talks

In this September 28, 2013 photo, a supporter of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani holds a local newspaper with a headline that reads, “historic call from a return flight”, upon his arrival from the U.S. near the Mehrabad airport in Tehran.   | Photo Credit: Ebrahim Noroozi

Iran’s Foreign Minister on Sunday said his country is willing to forgive the United States’ history with Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran is open to negotiations with the United States over its nuclear programme, but Washington must end its crippling sanctions. Mr. Zarif said Iran is not developing a military nuclear programme and has no desire for one.

Mr. Zarif also said Iran is willing to open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors.

The Foreign <inister’s comments follow a sudden thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations after decades as adversaries. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke on Friday by telephone, the first direct contact between the two countries’ leaders in three decades.

Mr. Zarif spoke on Sunday on ABC’s This Week.

‘Need more than a phone call’

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Zarif’s deputy sought to calm hard-line worries over groundbreaking exchanges with Washington, saying a single phone conversation between the American and Iran Presidents is not a sign that relations with will be quickly restored.

The comments by Abbas Araghchi appeared tailored to address Iranian factions, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, that have grown uneasy over fast-paced outreach last week between the White House and President Hassan Rouhani, which was capped by a 15-minute call with President Barack Obama.

“Definitely, a history of high tensions between Tehran and Washington will not go back to normal relations due to a phone call, meeting or negotiation,” Mr. Araghchi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency as saying.

Mr. Araghchi also reiterated statements by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said he no longer opposes direct talks with Washington but is not optimistic about the potential outcome. Ayatollah Khamenei appears to have given Mr. Rouhani authority to handle the nuclear talks with world powers, scheduled to resume in Geneva in two weeks, and seek possible broader contacts with the Obama administration.

“We never trust America 100 per cent,” said Mr. Araghchi. “And, in the future, we will remain on the same path. We will never trust them 100 per cent.”

The divisions over Mr. Rouhani’s overtures were on display on Saturday when he returned from New York. Supporters welcomed him with cheers, but a smaller pocket of protesters shouted insults.

The U.S. and Iran broke ties after the 1979 Islamic Revolution when mobs stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. A total of 52 hostages were held for 444 days.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:39:22 AM |

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