A top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader on Tuesday said Tehran is ready for a final nuclear deal with the world powers over its disputed atomic program.
The official IRNA news agency on Tuesday quoted Ali Akbar Velayati as saying the “situation is ready” for such a deal.
Velayati is the foreign adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters in Iran, including the country’s nuclear policies.
Velayati’s remark was the highest-level positive sign after Iran last week pulled out of the nuclear talks in Vienna to protest the US targeting companies it says evaded current sanctions.
In Geneva, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi also confirmed Iran’s willingness to resume talks, in a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said Iran would return to the table.
“We will continue Geneva talks. We will show proper, calculated, purposeful and smart reaction toward any improper and unconstructive action,” Zarif wrote on Facebook
Meeting with Ashton while on a swing through Europe, Araqchi discussed ways of implementing the interim agreement signed between the P5+1 and Iran last month.
The accord will roll back some sanctions in exchange for curbs on nuclear enrichment and more intrusive inspections on facilities.
Though criticized by Israel, the deal was hailed as a major breakthrough in finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff. On Monday, the sides met again in Geneva for a low-level meeting on implementing the deal. Signed on November 24, the deal has not been implemented because “technical issues” have not been resolved.
While the White House, which has long supported financial penalties on Iran, has pushed Congress to cancel plans to pass new sanctions, several lawmakers have indicated they will work for pressure on Iran to be maintained through new sanctions, as requested by Jerusalem.
The West suspects Iran seeks to make nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies.
Earlier this month, Zarif had declared that new US-led sanctions on Tehran would render the recently signed nuclear deal with six world powers void.
Speaking to Time magazine, Zarif said that if Congress chooses to impose new sanctions on his country, “the entire deal is dead,” even if said sanctions don’t take effect for six months.
“We do not like to negotiate under duress,” Zarif told the magazine.
Zarif said new sanctions would show “lack of seriousness and lack of a desire to achieve a resolution on the part of the United States.”
The Iranian foreign minister said that, while he was aware of the “domestic complications and various issues inside the United States,” for him, it was “no justification” for any action that would jeopardize the progress made between Iran and the West in Geneva.