March 20, 2014

Another Round of Talks on the Iranian Atom Has Been Concluded

March 19 in Vienna concluded the regular second round of talks between Iran and the “5 +1” group.

Negotiators' meeting was preceded by a series of expert consultations, which took place in Vienna from 3 to 7 March.

On the eve of the second round of negotiations the Chairman of the Committee for National Security of the Iranian parliament Alaeddin Boroujerdi said, “The Iranian government will defend its legitimate right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the forthcoming round will be marked by fierce diplomatic struggle”. He also pointed out that the government has a more pragmatic approach to negotiations, while the Majlis has a conservative one.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he did not expect to achieve final agreements in the current round of negotiations, but it should not be interpreted as a sign of failure or setbacks.

During the talks, the sides discussed the following issues:

  • enrichment of uranium at the Iranian territory;
  • construction of a heavy water reactor in Arak;
  • lifting the acting against Iran international economic sanctions.

According to J. Zarif, in the current round, the most heated debates raged around the works on the construction of a heavy water reactor in Arak, which is the subject of special concern in the West. Inspections of the plant were one of the main demands of the IAEA and Tehran has met it.

Prior to the meeting in Vienna, there appeared information about causing intentional physical damage to the reactor. “Some pumps of the station “Arak” of project IR-40 were subject to a mechanical effect in order to disrupt its normal work”, said the Deputy Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Asghar Zarean.

It can be assumed that some of the opponents of H. Rouhani's new course in the nuclear field, decided to complicate the negotiators and the President's himself moving forward. Don't forget that Tehran has stated its willingness to modify the reactor so that it could annually produce 9 kg weapons-grade plutonium, enough to make one bomb.

Press Secretary of the Head of European diplomacy Catherine Ashton, Michael Mann, stated about significant progress made ​​during the second round of the Vienna talks. According to him, the result of the negotiations can be called “encouraging”. Answering the question about whether it is possible to achieve a final agreement on the nuclear program within the next six months, Michael Mann said that this requires the closest possible interaction of the negotiators.

The parties agreed that a new round of talks between Iran and the “5+1” group will be held April 7-9, as expected, in Vienna.