Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday dismissed freezing of the country’s long-standing nuclear programme for a long period of time as a necessity of prospective final agreement with the West.
Khamenei ruled out such a move to interrupt Iran’s nuclear facilities on which Tehran and the West have long been disputing as he regarded the Western imposition as “unacceptable” to implement for a long time.
"Freezing Iran's Research and Development (R&D) for a long time like 10 or 12 years is not acceptable," Khamenei said in a live speech broadcasted on Iran’s state TV.
Khamenei blamed the US of desiring to wipe out Iran’s nuclear abilities and industries by putting a binding point to the nuclear agreement as saying that "America is after destroying our nuclear industry altogether."
The West has long been claiming that Iran was seeking to obtain nuclear bombs through its massive nuclear activities, but Tehran denies all allegations and accusations and says its nuclear programme would aim to meet civilian needs of energy demands.
After a decade of deadlock, Iran and the P5+1 group, including the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany, had reached a preliminary framework nuclear agreement in Switzerland on April 2.
Khamenei urged the Western countries to lift financial-economic sanctions as soon as possible if a final deal is to be sealed by June 30 deadline, but rejected to suspend the nuclear programme for a long period of time which was decided on the preliminary framework agreement.
"All financial and economic sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the US Congress or the US government should be lifted immediately when we sign a nuclear agreement," Khamenei said.
Iran’s nuclear talks were said to have knotted around Tehran’s unwillingness to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the watchdog insists upon a comprehensive investigation of the nuclear sites whereas Iran demands an immediate removal of the sanctions.
"Inspection of our military sites is out of the question and is one of our red lines," Khamenei said when he echoed the views of hardline revolutionary guards who essentially objected to the IAEA’s access to the Iran’s military sites.
Earlier this month, the IAEA reported that Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate with the international investigators would cause a transparency problem, without that the watchdog said it cannot "conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."
The international nuclear watchdog urged Tehran on more cooperation and willingness for its investigation on the nuclear issue until the punitive sanctions imposed by the West are completely lifted following a prospective final deal.
The preliminary deal reached in Switzerland between the parties specifies that Iran will decrease two thirds of its uranium enrichment centrifuges and limits the level of enrichment to 3.67 percent, which would prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb. Many of the restrictions will expire in 15 years.
The deal also decreases Iranian uranium stockpiles from 10,000 kilograms to 300 which will be enriched only by Arak Nuclear Reactor under the inspection of the IAEA.
In return, the 10-year-deal promises Iran that all UN sanctions on Tehran will end with Iran’s fulfilment of the criteria within a planned calendar, after a prospective final deal was put into force.
But the West persists a complete removal of sanctions would depend on the IAEA’s full-fledged access into Iran’s nuclear facilities and freely deliver a comprehensive report on its findings which will confirm or deny the allegations and accusations attributed to Tehran.
The IAEA investigates some 12 alleged activities in Iran’s long-disputed nuclear programme which is believed by the West to have been aiming to obtain nuclear bombs, including suspicions that Tehran was working on the development of a nuclear payload for missiles.
Khamenei had previously labeled the Western terms as being “arrogant demands” and rejected the full access of the international watchdogs to all Iranian nuclear facilities last month.
As the deadline nears, hopes for sealing a final deal looms with Iran in the Western policy circles where the parties to the talks have recently seemed not much optimistic.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday that sealing a final agreement regarding Iran’s long-disputed nuclear programme was still unclear and blurry despite the fact that the self-imposed deadline runs out on June 30.
“We're at a stage where the Iranians have to tell us what's in their mind and I'll explain to them that France wants a robust accord, but that means verifiable, because an agreement that is not verifiable is an agreement that is not implemented," Fabius said ahead of his scheduled meeting with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday that Iran would need to exhibit more flexibility in order to facilitate a nuclear deal, suggesting the negotiations might go on beyond the self-imposed June 30 deadline.
"There will need to be some more flexibility shown by our Iranian partners if we are going to reach a deal, but, look, this is a negotiation, we always expected it would go right to the line and maybe beyond the line," Hammond said.