Araghchi: Iran Open To Additional Protocol As Part Of Endgame

by Jasmin Ramsey

Geneva — Abbas Araghchi, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, told LobeLog in an exclusive interview today that Iran is willing to implement the Additional Protocol, seen by world powers as a crucial element of a final deal, in the last stage of a mutually agreed upon accord.

“The Additional Protocol is a part of the endgame,” said Araghchi, who is currently representing Tehran in the nuclear talks. “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 was accepted earlier by Iran in 2003 and was adhered to but not officially ratified by Iran’s parliament. It “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.

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

He also seemed to reiterate the “cautious optimism” that an EU official noted here yesterday after Iran presented its new proposal to the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany)–the details of which remain private.

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

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

“It’s to soon to talk about whether we have made any progress but maybe this afternoon 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 LobeLog.

He also 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,” he 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.”

Araghchi also told LobeLog that Iran is expecting to return to Geneva to meet with the P5+1, 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.

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.



  1. Good points brought out here. Granted, it’s just the beginning, but it seems on the positive side. Perhaps it’s too early to really make a comment, but viewing through clean glasses, the feeling that this time, progress to resolve the present situation, will come about, as long as outside interference isn’t let in the door. The potential upside to the M.E., out weighs any downside that’s the present course today. I might add, that it sounds like the naysayers are being outmaneuvered here.

  2. OFAC attending the meetings is a very clear indication of the seriousness :at least genuine negociations have started.Both sides have reached an unprecedented level of preparadness.Keeping confidentiality on the content is another good symptom:no PR manoeuvre will pollute discussions.The sequencing of these negociations is very professional as well :top negociators involved in key steps only,ministerial and experts working between bilateral meetings.This round has brought realistic outcomes: now both parties know what the opposite wants and opposes;they now have a clear view on what is negociable and what each one included in various steps together with final expectations.In this respect, when an iranian deputy minisiter is stating just now that ratifying the NPT Additional Protocol may be included in a final step is perhaps a way of granting a subtle path for some move towards a slightly earlier inclusion that just in the end of round.
    Another detail may be amazing for western audience: Iranian endless reminder of Khamenei’s fatwa as a guarantee of Iran’s good intents.Western public may be perplex,as by no mean this is hardly bringing any certitude on such a promise.Don’t be confused: this is for iranian domestic audience.Rohani ,Zarif and their folks need to show to infuriated conservatives that they are strictly following the Supreme Leader’s line and that they have a full legitimacy for this.Not an easy job as the Guide has,to say the least,mixed feelings on any potential agreement with the West,and has to confirm to his pasdaran generals and other conservatives that he has not chosen the path for capitulation.Both Khamenei and IRGC are suspicious on this and feel necessary to often remind :
    i)AK : I am the boss
    ii) Pasdarans: we are the main safety guarantee of a “threatened” (if not agonizing) revolution.
    Barak Obama has remarkably understood this and offered duly coded messages to Tehran when acknowledging said fatwa’s contribution ( Obama is not naive but has identified the audience) and delivering these messages with proper words ( respect,goodbye in persian) which are perfectly understood by their genuine target :a persian audience.The great trouble in iranian various decision making circles is deriving more from the “code” used in these very general statements than from the communication itself.Obviously,Barack Obama has been very accurately advised by experts who are both fluent in farsi and have a very deep understanding of Iran’s thinking.This explains why Obama decided to let his telephone conversation with Rohani made known to the public.
    Now, the most difficult job remains to be done.
    Tehran has as well clearly identified risks deriving from Israel’s desperately trying to “kill” any bargain which would jeopardize its traditional motto ( “existential threat”).Then the unexpected statement to an israeli journalist on a potential decrease of tension between Tehran and Israel should an agreement with 5+1 is reached, may be considered as both a trial balloon and a clever demining procedure.

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