Iran’s Foreign Minister said Tuesday a deal to end a standoff with the international community over Tehran’s nuclear program could be reached at talks in Geneva later this week.
“I believe it is even possible to reach that agreement this week but I can only talk for our side, I cannot talk for the other side,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told France 24 television ahead of talks here with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
Although Zarif tempered his remarks by saying that there was much work still to be done, his relatively upbeat comments contrasted with more pessimistic remarks from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who have both played down the chances of a deal in Geneva.
Zarif said negotiators representing Iran in the meeting with the so-called P5+1 group of international powers would enter discussions on Thursday and Friday in good faith.
The P5+1 consists of the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany.
“We have made some progress but there is a great deal of mistrust in Iran concerning the attitude, the behaviour and the approach of some members of P5+1,” Zarif said.
“I believe the trust of the Iranian people must be regained. We need to enter these discussions with an open eye but in good faith. We are prepared to reach an agreement.”
Zarif went on to reiterate Tehran’s position that the regime is not seeking to develop nuclear weapons and claimed Iran had been “boxed into an unnecessary crisis” for years.
“One side alone cannot resolve this issue but Iran is ready to come to the negotiating table as we have shown in the last rounds (of talks).
“This is the fourth round of talks (since Rouhani was elected earlier this year) so we are optimistic that we can move forward.
“If there is political will on all sides to move forwards then we can have a framework of an agreement.
“We have come very far in last few rounds so we need to take a few more steps.”
Iranian FM says nuclear accord ‘possible’ this week