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.