Iranian nuclear scientists are expected to maintain their pace and make good progress in the field – with or without sanctions or a deal for relief – according to a report on state TV.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made it clear Tuesday that he has ruled out any freeze on sensitive nuclear work, state television reported.
The deal being offered by the six world powers (the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Russia and China) offers relief from sanctions imposed on Tehran, linked to verifications by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran has halted its sensitive nuclear development program. The deal is to extend over a 10 year period.
In return, the UN is to lift the economic sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, using a step-down system linked to IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear plants and research facilities.
But Iran’s Supreme Leader has nixed all that, and demands that sanctions be removed immediately as well.
“Freezing Iran’s research and development for a long time, like 10 or 12 years, is not acceptable,” Khamenei responded in a speech that was broadcast live over Iran state television.
“Sanctions should be lifted immediately when the deal is signed and it should not be linked to verification by the UN watchdog body.
“Inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines.
“America is hoping to destroy our nuclear industry altogether. Our negotiators’ aim is to safeguard Iran’s integrity … and our nuclear achievements during the talks.”
It is Khamenei who has the authority to make the final decision on anything dealing with nuclear technology in Iran; thus as it stands now, it is likely that unless he suddenly changes his mind – or the delegation is willing to accept his terms — the deal is likely to be scrapped.
Or talks will again be extended, as they have been twice before.
Negotiations so far are scheduled to end – “one way or the other” – on June 30.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been pressuring the world powers to walk away from “this bad deal” and warning Iran would not keep its end of the bargain. It has already been discovered that Iran was increasing its uranium enrichment production during the nuclear agreement talks, even though it had already committed to halting such production as a good faith measure during negotiations.
Israel maintains that Iran cannot be trusted to fulfill its side of any future deal, either.