Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that his country is ready to enrich uranium to 20 per cent in less than 24 hours should the Geneva agreement with the P5+1 group be revoked.
Speaking to Iran’s Arabic language television network Al-Alam, Zarif explained that the latest American measures “do not help build confidence”. He added that, “Policy that pressures and threatens Iran will not lead to a positive result.”
Zarif said that while negotiations will continue, “balanced measures must be taken by both sides.” He also stressed that the final agreement “must not exclude the right to enrich uranium”.
The world’s six major powers known as the P5+1, which includes the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany, reached an interim agreement with Iran over its nuclear programme in Geneva on 23 November, which requires Tehran to open its nuclear facilities to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency while halting some of its uranium enrichment activities, in exchange for easing the sanctions against Iran during the following six months. The aim of the negotiators is to reach a permanent agreement by next summer.
The foreign minister admitted that the upcoming round of negotiations will be “more difficult” than the previous one.
But he insisted that, “Like other countries, Iran will have its own nuclear technology in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty after the final agreement.”
In response to the US decision last week to add more Iranian firms to the sanctions blacklist, Zarif explained that while it is not exactly a violation of the Geneva agreement, “it does undermine the confidence needed to succeed in the next round of negotiations.”
He noted that Iran has officially addressed the EU and US foreign policy chiefs, Catherine Ashton and John Kerry, who pledged to facilitate the success of negotiations.