Iran's Zarif insists deal preserves nuclear drive
TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
Most Iranian newspapers hailed the historic deal, attributing the relatively swift success to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. AFP PhotoForeign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday Iran's historic deal with world powers preserves the structure of the country's nuclear drive, while insisting the international sanctions regime had crumbled.
"The structure of Iran's nuclear programme was preserved in the Geneva talks," Zarif told a gathering of nuclear scientists in Tehran, a day after an agreement was clinched in the Swiss city between Iran and world powers over the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear programme.
"The structure of the sanctions crumbled," added Zarif, referring to a vast array of punitive measures adopted by the United States and the European Union against Iran over its nuclear drive.
Zarif, who led the Iranian delegation at the marathon talks in Geneva -- receiving a hero's welcome when he returned home -- reiterated the country's stance on uranium enrichment.
"Has the right to have a nuclear power plant or reactor been written into the accord?" the official IRNA news agency quoted Zarif as saying.
"Generally speaking, (a country's) right does not need to be recognised (by others) and it is necessary that other countries respect this right," he said.
Iran has insisted that its "right" to enrich uranium as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty was accepted in the deal but US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly denies this.
The long-elusive interim accord commits Iran to limit uranium enrichment and curb expansion of its nuclear drive in exchange for limited relief from the sanctions and the freeing up of some of its frozen assets.
The West and Israel suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its uranium enrichment programme, which Tehran insists is entirely for peaceful purposes.