Jul 28, 2014, 12:53 PM
News Code: 2732626
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Nuclear talks: Differences between Jalili and Zarif

Tehran, July 28, IRNA - An English-language daily on Monday compared President Rouhani's administration's nuclear negotiating team with that of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's team.

Focusing on the main points, 'Iran Daily' stated the differences, in its Opinion column, which are as follows:

• During the negotiations between the former nuclear team, led by Saeed Jalili, and P5+1, the UN Security Council and Western states had imposed several sanctions on Iran. But, no new sanctions have been imposed on the Islamic Republic since Zarif and his team took over the talks with the world powers. Iran was boosting its nuclear activities during Jalili’s term to win concessions in the talks, but the move was not aimed totally at meeting the needs of the country. Now, the country’s nuclear activities continue moderately based on current and future nuclear plans. Maybe the differences in approaches of Jalili and Zarif are due to their past careers. Jalili, the former the Supreme National Security Council, was looking at talks from security point of view, but Zarif, who was Iran’s former envoy to the UN, is dealing with the negotiations from a diplomatic window.

• Jalili’s team was trying to convince the other side to accept Iran’s right to enrich uranium inside Iran, but the world powers were against the continuation of uranium enrichment in Iran’s soil. In addition, the Security Council passed a resolution calling for a halt to uranium enrichment in the Islamic Republic. But now, P5+1 has accepted Iran’s right to enrich uranium and Zarif’s team is talking to the world powers about the number of the centrifuges Iran has in operation, and the amount of low-enriched uranium it has stockpiled.

• During Jaili’s tenure, atmosphere of despair and confusion gripped the country’s economy due to the sanctions, but now the economy is showing signs of improvements because of sanctions relief provided for in the Joint Plan of Action between P5+1 and the Islamic Republic.

• One of the main constraints on the Iranian economy was the unilateral sanctions imposed on the oil industry. At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran. Iran’s oil exports reached nearly 800,000 barrels per day in 2013 from about 2.5 million bpd due to Western embargos. Today Iran’s oil exports would have decreased to zero, if it had not reached the deal with the world powers in Geneva. But now the oil exports are on the rise and have reached about one million bpd.

• During Jalili’s term, the talks were focused on marginal issues such as the location of the negotiations and international problems, and not the nuclear dossier itself or the anti-Iran sanctions. But the ongoing negotiations are centered just on nuclear issues.

• Most of the Iranian team speak English and the negotiations are conducted in English, which makes a big difference. Iran’s last nuclear negotiating team did not speak English and the tension between the two sides was palpable.

• All official tribunes had supported and praised Jalili despite the fact that the country was facing further sanctions during his tenure. But now the that Zarif and his team succeeded in winning sanctions relief since the start of a political détente, those who were supporting Jaili have now turned against the new negotiators and are expressing concern about the outcome of the talks!

Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers agreed in the latest round of nuclear talks to extend the high-stake negotiations for four months to November 24 to prepare the ground for a final deal to resolve the decade-long standoff.

The six world powers also agreed to let Iran access another $2.8 billion of its cash which is frozen abroad during that period, though most sanctions on the Islamic Republic remain in place. In exchange, Iran will keep neutralizing its most sensitive uranium stocks—uranium that has been enriched to a level of 20 percent purity—by converting it to fuel for a research reactor in Tehran to make medical isotopes.

Nearly one year has passed since President Hassan Rouhani took office and changed nuclear policies and the negotiating team. The new negotiating team, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, has succeeded in sealing the landmark interim nuclear interim deal with P5+1 in Geneva on November 23, 2013, for a six-month period. Under the deal, which went into effect on January 20 and expired on July 20, the six countries undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities.