A third round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers ended Wednesday, halfway through the time allotted to the parties to ink a final-status deal.
At the conclusion of the talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton released a joint statement saying that while the talks had been “substantive and detailed,” “intensive work” would be required to overcome differences.
Iranian news outlets were also upbeat Wednesday, albeit for other reasons. Iran celebrated National Nuclear Technology Day by announcing the country’s nuclear breakthroughs – including, but not limited to, the establishment of a control room at the Tehran Research Reactor and launching of a new production unit at the controversial Arak heavy water reactor.
Not content with unveiling Iran’s past and present nuclear achievements, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared Wednesday that the country’s nuclear activities were “unstoppable” and that “none of the country’s nuclear achievements can be shut down,” PressTV said.
According to IRNA, Khamenei said Iran would not be “bullied” by world powers into forfeiting its past nuclear gains – a clear message to the Iranian Vienna negotiators not to yield to P5+1 pressure to agree to scale back the country’s nuclear program.
Reuters and BBC quoted Khamenei as saying that Iran had agreed to the nuclear talks only to improve its international image – but not, apparently, out of a readiness to make any of the concessions the international community demands as a sign Tehran isn’t after the bomb.
Incidentally, on Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that if it wanted to, Iran could reach nuclear breakout capability within two months…. Now that’s what the P5+1 “bullies” have to work with.