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Araghchi: Iran Open To Additional Protocol As Part Of Endgame

Iran's deputy foreign minister has indicated that Iran would be willing to allow additional inspections of its nuclear sites as part of an agreement with the United States and its allies.

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Abbas Aragchi, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister who is currently leading talks in Geneva between Iran and world powers known as the P5+1, told IPS News in an interview at his hotel that Iran is willing to implement the Additional Protocol in the final stage of a mutually agreed upon nuclear deal.

“The Additional Protocol is a part of the endgame,” Araghchi told IPS. “It’s on the table, but not for the time being, it’s a part of the final step,” he said.

According to the Arms Control Association, the Additional Protocol “is a legal document granting the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements.” The voluntary but advanced nuclear safeguards standard, the implementation of which includes a legal document, was accepted earlier by Iran in 2003 and was adhered to but not officially ratified by Iran’s parliament. “The Additional Protocol requires States to provide an expanded declaration of their nuclear activities and grants the Agency broader rights of access to sites in the country,” according to the IAEA’s website.

Asked whether he was expecting any breakthroughs after an initial positive first day of the two-day talks, Araghchi said, “Any break through depends on the other side.”

He also seemed to reiterate the “cautious optimism” that an EU official noted yesterday after Iran presented its new proposal to the P5+1, the details of which remain under wraps.

“We made a very good, logical and balanced proposal,” said Araghchi, referring to the PowerPoint presentation that was presented by the official head of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is Iran’s Foreign Minister.

“We are looking forward this morning to hearing from [the P5+1] on their counter proposal, what their reaction is and their evaluation of our proposal,” noted Araghchi.

“It’s to soon to talk about whether we have made any progress but maybe when we’ve heard from them we can come to a conclusion if everything is going well,” he added.

“I have a good feeling about it but I cannot judge now,” Araghchi told IPS. He then repeated Iran’s earlier call for identifying and establishing an “end game” for a nuclear deal.

“We believe to make an agreement now, we need to come to an agreement on the common objective, the end game, the final step and the first step,” Aragchi said.

“It’s not useful to decide only on the first step and take that without having a clear picture of the future and the destination,” he said.

“So it’s very important to set the common objective that both sides can agree on,” said Araghchi.

Araghchi also told IPS News that Iran is expecting to return to meet with the P5+1 in Geneva, but did not confirm when or whether the next round of talks would occur at the ministerial level.

“There is a common understanding that we have to meet again soon,” he said. “The level is not decided yet.”

Jasmin Ramsey is the managing editor of LobeLog. 

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