Iranian official suggests Israel attempting to torpedo nuclear deal

Senior member of Iranian negotiating team tells 'Guardian' that "dark forces" are working against the conclusion of a deal.

May 7, 2014 12:38
1 minute read.
iran talks

Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and EE foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at nuclear talks in Vienna March 19, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iranian diplomats suggested that Israel is attempting to torpedo the nuclear deal between the P5 +1 group of world powers and Iran, The Guardian newspaper reported.

Seyed Abbas Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs, told Guardian reporters that "there are spoilers everywhere who don't want an agreement, there are dark forces who don't like this process … it is clear some people don't want to resolve this issue in a peaceful and logical way."

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"I don't want to use the word 'warmongers'. But these people want continuing tension, a continuing crisis in our region. They don't want the sanctions on Iran to end. They don't want Iran to be a major player in this region, although in fact it already is," he added.

Although the leader of the three-member negotiating team from Tehran wouldn't specifically say which country he was alluding to, the Guardian surmised he was speaking about Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been outspoken against any sort of diplomatic deal with Iran.

Araqchi, however, with a hint of optimism, said the talks were still on the right track. "Whether it gets to a conclusion is something else. Obviously we are hopeful. For our part, we are very serious and we have goodwill. If the other side reciprocates, hopefully we will come to an end. But anything can happen."

He also said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has invested a lot of effort into reaching a deal and has "raised expectations."

"But I think people understand the complexities of the situation. I don't think it would be a big blow to Rouhani if there is no agreement. People understand he has done his best," he said.

Top American officials
 traveled to Israel on Wednesday to brief Israel, their chief regional ally, on the progress of the negotiations.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice traveled from Washington to Jerusalem, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, President Barack Obama’s chief negotiator in the talks with Iran, will depart directly for Vienna after the briefings, where the fourth round of nuclear talks resume next week.

Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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