Interfax: Recognizing Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy should be condition for resolving nuclear problem – Lavrov

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – If the Sextet adheres to the stance of recognizing Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful, energy purposes during the talks with Tehran, the parties might have a chance to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“For many years Russia put forward the following approach: we all recognize Iran’s right to peaceful development of nuclear energy, including Iran’s right to enrich uranium for this purpose, on the condition that all questions without exception are answered in its relations with the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and the entire Iranian nuclear program is placed under the strict control of the agency,” Lavrov said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper published on Tuesday.

“If the following goal – that Iran will have the same rights as other member countries of the Non-Proliferation Treaty that are not G5 members – is not declared, then Iran may suspect that this entire process was initiated in order not to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, but in order to force Iranians either to surrender or change its regime with the pressure of sanctions,” Lavrov said.

At the same time, “if we recognized these basic rights, same as the rights of any other state that follows the guidelines of the IAEA, and Iran becomes subject to the agency’s principles, then Iran’s doubts would fall aside,” the Russian minister said.

“If we stick to the fair path, which shows ‘the end game’, that is, the final goal of the entire process, then we have the chance to achieve results, as long as we do not throw a wrench into the machine, impeding the process,” he said.

The Iranian nuclear issue cannot be resolved with sanctions against Tehran, Lavrov said. “In any case we will resolve nothing with sanctions. Sanctions never bring results anywhere,” he said.

“Now some people suggest that these recent positive developments in Iran’s approach, its readiness to agree certain conditions, became possible only because it is experiencing the pressure of sanctions,” the Russian minister said.

“Let’s leave this theory to the historians. It is unforgivable for diplomats to get dragged into such senseless talk because we currently have a real opportunity to strike a deal. If we become distracted as to why this is happening, we might lose this chance,” the newspaper quoted Lavrov as saying.

Many people will not get upset if the talks between the Sextet and Iran fail, the Russian minister said. Meanwhile, “another meeting on the Iranian nuclear program, which will begin in Geneva on November 20, will deal with certain documents at the negotiations table, which were discussed at a previous meeting,” he said.