Zarif underlined in Vienna on Tuesday that Washington’s talk about new sanctions in recent months has caused a “great deal of concern” in Iran about whether the US is “serious about wanting to reach an agreement.”
"Unfortunately what we have seen in the last two months has not encouraged us to believe that everything is in order," the top Iranian negotiator said.
"I can understand the politics... in the United States... but from the general perspective of the Iranian populace, what has happened in the last two months has been less than encouraging," he added.
Nevertheless, he noted that it is still possible to reach a final deal on Iran’s nuclear energy program because they have no other option and the only way to resolve the issue is through negotiations.
"But nevertheless, these statements aside, it is really possible to make an agreement because of a single overriding fact, and that is that we have no other option,” he said, adding, "If we want to resolve this issue the only way is through negotiations”.
Zarif arrived in Vienna at the head of a five-member team of senior negotiators on Monday.
Representatives of Iran and the Group 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) started comprehensive talks in Vienna on Tuesday over a lasting solution to the nuclear standoff between the two sides after hectic diplomatic efforts in Geneva in November resulted in an interim agreement.
Zarif is accompanied by Araqchi, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi, Foreign Ministry Director-General for Political and International Affairs Hamid Baeidinejad, Foreign Minister's Legal Adviser Davoud Mohammadnia and Director-General for Safeguards at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Amiri.
The Sextet will be headed by EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton and represented by US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, British Foreign Office Political Director Simon Gass, French Foreign Ministry Political Director Jacques Audibert, German Foreign Ministry Advisor Hans-Dieter Lucas, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and China’s representative Li Baodong.
The first round of the multifaceted talks with the representatives of the six world powers on Tuesday morning only took 40 minutes, and the two sides said talks would continue through bilateral meetings between the Iranian foreign minister, the EU foreign policy chief, and the G5+1 negotiators.
On Monday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei reiterated his pessimistic view about the possibility of a nuclear deal with the US-led West, specially after the recent insulting remarks of Washington officials, but stressed that this would not mean an end of negotiations with the world powers.
Addressing a large number of visitors from Iran's Northwestern Azarbaijan province here in Tehran, the Leader praised the massive turnout of the Iranian people in the annual February 11 rallies, marking the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and said reports showed that the country this February experienced its most crowded rallies in recent years.
He said such an unrivaled public presence in the rallies carried the message that "the Iranian nation will not surrender to the United States' bullying and it won't be blackmailed by the US".
He further noted the US bullying approach and its black record in dealing with the outside world, saying, "No one can hide the ugly face of the US by make-up to introduce it as a state which is interested in the Iranian nation".
Ayatollah Khamenei reminded the crimes of the United States in the last 80 years, including waging numerous wars, massacre of innocent people, supporting cruel dictators, international terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism in different parts of the world such as its backup for the terrorist Zionist regime of Israel, conducting terror operations and killing tens of thousands of people in its invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the last but not the least forming extremist Takfiri groups and supporting them, and asked, "How can one change such an ugly and criminal face when it comes to relations with the Iranian nation."
Ayatollah Khamenei also pointed to the black record of the United States' hostile measures against Iran throughout the last century, specially after the onset of the Islamic Revolution, and condemned the US president for his empathy and support for the leaders of the seditionist move against the Islamic Republic in the 2009 presidential elections, which he complained has continued up until now.
Following this introduction, the Supreme Leader noted his March, 2013 remarks in the Northeastern city of Mashhad when he stressed his pessimistic view about the possibility of a nuclear deal with the US-led powers.
"Some statesmen in the previous and the present governments imagined that if we negotiate with the US, the problem will be solved; (in response) I stated that I didn't have any objection to negotiation over the nuclear issue due to their insistence, but I stressed right then that I was not optimistic," he said.
The Leader said now some signs are appearing which vindicate the veracity of his pessimistic view, including "the cheap and insulting statements of the US senators and officials against the Iranian nation".
"Of course, the Iranian nation responded to these insults in the February 11 rallies and slapped the US officials on the mouth," he added, stressing that responding to the US officials' insults, arrogance and bullying was a main cause of the people's unprecedented turnout in this year's rallies.
The Leader said such an admirable presence on the scene gave this message to the Iranian officials that "the nation is standing firm and officials should not feel feeble in the confrontation against the enemy".
Ayatollah Khamenei renewed his earlier remarks about the root cause of Iran's problems with the US, saying the Islamic Republic would not step back even for an inch, but "even if the nuclear issue was resolved exactly the way the US wanted, the Americans would seek other excuses." "Now everyone is witnessing that the US administration spokespersons are speaking of human rights issues and the missile and defense capabilities of Iran."
He then reminded the United States' black record in treating human rights issues like the Guantanamo and Abu Greib prisons, its assistance to notorious world terrorists and many others cases, and asked how the Americans could speak of human rights conditions in Iran.
Yet, the Leader underlined that his words should not be interpreted as an end to the nuclear negotiations, and said, "What the foreign ministry and government officials have started with regard to the nuclear talks will continue and Iran will not violate what it has started, but everyone should know that the US in essence feels enmity towards the Islamic Revolution and Islam and this enmity will not end with the talks."
"The only way to cure this animosity is relying on national might and domestic capabilities and strengthening the internal structure of the country," underscored the Supreme Leader.
Last March, Ayatollah Khamenei questioned the US honesty in its offer of talks with Iran, and stressed that talks would be meaningless as long as Washington continued its hostile policy towards Iran.
"Through different ways and messages, the Americans try to negotiate with us on the nuclear issue, but I am not optimistic about these talks," Ayatollah Khamenei said, addressing Iranian people in Northeastern holy city of Mashhad in March, 2013.
"I am not opposed to talks with regard to the nuclear issue, but certain issues must be clarified," the Leader said.
The Leader pointed to the US claim that they intend to be honest in their talks with Iran, and noted, "We have repeatedly asserted that we do not seek nuclear weapons but you do not believe this honest word; why should we accept your word?"
"Negotiation is an American tactic for deceiving the public opinion and if it is otherwise the Americans should prove it," the Leader stated.
He pointed to the talks between Iran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), and said that Washington does not want the talks to come to a conclusion.
"With regard to the nuclear issue, Iran only wants the recognition of its rights to enrichment."
The Leader noted that the US seeks to prolong the course of the negotiations in an attempt to "paralyze" the Iranian nation.
"Iran will never be crippled and if the Americans want the issue to be over, there is one simple solution which is the US should put aside its enmity with the Iranian nation."
The Leader pointed out that the enemy seeks to create hurdles through sanctions and threats and downplay Iran's achievements through propaganda, as its two major strategies against the Iranian nation.
"The center of conspiracy and the basis of hostility with the Iranian nation is the US administration," Ayatollah Khamenei noted.
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