Iranian FM: Final nuclear deal very likely


(JTA) — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the signing of a final agreement between Iran and world powers on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is very likely.

Zariff made the statement in an interview that Der Spiegel published Friday.

“An agreement is very likely, provided that our negotiation partners mean it seriously,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said of negotiations on the final form of a deal that offers Iran sanctions relief in exchange for measurable scaling back of its nuclear program.

Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China reached a tentative framework deal on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland. They have a June 30 deadline to arrive at a comprehensive agreement.

Zarif criticized Saudi Arabia, which has voiced concern that a nuclear deal could embolden Iran and harm the security of other states. Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also vocally criticized the deal in formation, which Netanyahu warned would allow Iran to inch toward nuclear offensive capabilities until it reaches a threshold that would allow it to obtain them too quickly for the West to intervene.

But the United States maintains the deal is the best possible path for preventing Iran from going nuclear.

“Some people in the region are evidently panicking,” Zarif said in the interview, adding there was no reason to do so. “We don’t want to dominate the region. We are happy with our size and geography,” he told the magazine.

“Even if I’m optimistic, that doesn’t mean that any deal is acceptable. All parties want a good deal, and for Iran it’s only a good deal if our legitimate rights are respected and sanctions are finished,” top negotiator and deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi told the Austrian news agency APA.

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