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Rouhani: Nuclear rights are a 'red line'

February 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made it clear on Sunday that Iran’s right to enrich uranium is a “red line” that cannot be crossed and that he believes Iran acted rationally and tactfully during the latest negotiations over its nuclear programme with the P5+1 group that comprises the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

During a speech he to the Iranian National Assembly, Rouhani said that Iranian negotiators who took part in the latest talks in Geneva told their negotiating partners that Iran “will not answer to any threat, sanction, humiliation or discrimination”.

“The Islamic Republic has not and will not bow its head to threats from any authority,” Rouhani pledged.

He added that his government sees national interests as red lines that cannot be crossed. “For us there are red lines that cannot be crossed. National interests are our red lines that include our rights under the framework of international regulations and [uranium] enrichment in Iran,” he said.

He also reiterated that his country is taking part in the negotiations out of a belief that dialogue is the way to solve political problems, noting that his country’s decision to take part in negotiations did not come as a result of pressures or sanctions.

Rouhani was quoted by Iran’s Arabic language channel Al-Alam as saying that his country went through negotiations on the nuclear issue in 2003, before the siege was imposed, and they are continuing with negotiations despite the siege.

The Iranian president also observed that the success of the negotiations could reinforce security and stability in the region and around the world, stressing that his country will continue to locally enrich uranium.

His statements came hours after the negotiators announced that talks over the Iranian nuclear issue have so far failed to reach an agreement, even though they succeeded in narrowing differences and the talks will resume in ten days.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton had stated that the talks, which lasted for three days, have resulted in tangible results and that they will resume on 20 November, noting that some issues are still pending.

On his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif explained that he is not frustrated even though no agreement has been reached yet. He said he has hopes that a deal can be reached when talks resume on 20 November.

US Secretary of State John Kerry praised the progress that has been made during the negotiations, saying that world powers have moved closer toward reaching a deal with Iran. He stressed that his country is “determined to make certain that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Kerry also warned that the diplomatic window will not remain open indefinitely.