Iran announces new ‘partnership’ proposal over nuclear program

Written by Staff Writer, CNN Iran on Monday said it has agreed to resume negotiations over its nuclear program with senior officials from six world powers by the end of November, officials say. But…

Iran announces new 'partnership' proposal over nuclear program

Written by Staff Writer, CNN

Iran on Monday said it has agreed to resume negotiations over its nuclear program with senior officials from six world powers by the end of November, officials say.

But with the Iranians refusing to provide details about their “new proposals,” the remaining members of the seven-nation group — the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany — could not say whether a final deal can be struck on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

In a joint statement Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, expressed “mutual understanding that negotiations can resume before the end of November.”

Earlier this month, at a meeting on Iran in Vienna, the six powers asked Iran to “formally respond” to their proposals for a lasting agreement over its controversial nuclear program and steps to prevent it from ever building a nuclear weapon.

The six powers presented their proposals in hopes of lifting punishing economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, but Tehran says any deal would require it to give up its uranium enrichment rights.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), under which the Iranians pledged to limit the number of centrifuges they have and their output of enriched uranium.

“The timing of the announcement of our new proposal has been complicated, but we have no choice,” Zarif tweeted on Monday.

“The deal can now be more fully implemented, lifting the sanctions will be gradually restored and a better deal reached.”

“Our timeframes have evolved, and the timeline of negotiations may change,” he said.

‘Constructive engagement’

Iran’s concerns over the IAEA’s inspections were on show at the Vienna meeting on November 14-15, when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif complained to his counterparts about “temporary” measures intended to ensure the agency has “informal access” to the country’s facilities.

The six powers’ proposals proposed a “fully intrusive monitoring and verification regime,” under which the IAEA would have access to Iranian nuclear facilities for long-term inspections.

“We hope that as soon as possible we will resume our constructive engagement to advance the IAEA’s role in verifying and monitoring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” the joint statement said.

The six powers have repeatedly demanded that Iran undertake to eliminate all levels of uranium enrichment — much of which are reportedly covert — but Iran refuses to do so, saying it has the right to continue enriching uranium as stipulated by the JCPOA.

Iran has accelerated its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, which can be further enriched to produce fuel for a nuclear reactor but not for nuclear weapons.

CNN’s Berhan Hareb contributed to this report.

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