Iran will resume enriching uranium to the 20-percent purity level, if the country’s nuclear talks with the world powers come to an end without an agreement, says a top Iranian nuclear negotiator.
Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, who is also Iran’s deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, said at a press conference in Rome on Thursday that a comprehensive nuclear deal is within reach, but the two sides are still far apart on certain issues, Fars News Agency reported.
He said Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany need hard work, wisdom and creativity to bridge the gaps.
He said talks between Iran and the six major powers are at a very critical stage, expressing hope that both sides can clinch a deal by the July 20 deadline.
He said failure to reach a nuclear deal would be “disastrous for all,” adding that Iran will resume 20-percent enrichment work should negotiations break down.
Iran and six world powers have been discussing ways to iron out their differences and start drafting a final deal that would end the West’s dispute with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program.
In November 2013, the two sides signed an interim nuclear deal in the Swiss city of Geneva that came into force on January 20.
Under the deal, the six countries agreed to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period. It was also agreed that no nuclear-related sanctions would be imposed on the Islamic Republic within the same time frame.
The next round of high-level negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear energy program is scheduled for June 16-20 in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
On January 20, Iran suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment as part of the interim nuclear deal with the major world powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed Iran’s committment to the deal.