Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the country’s defense capabilities will never be on the agenda of nuclear talks with the P5+1.

“I assure [you] that the defense capabilities and systems of the Islamic Republic of Iran have never been a topic of our discussions, and will never be in the future,” Zarif told reporters after his working dinner banquet with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Vienna on Tuesday.

The top Iranian diplomat added that he exchanged views with Ashton about the framework of the fourth round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 and noted that both sides agreed to jointly proceed with the work.

The Iranian chief nuclear negotiator once again emphasized that this round of negotiations is highly sensitive as the two sides would start drafting the final agreement.

“If the other side enters the negotiations with goodwill and realism, there is a possibility that the talks will reach a final result sooner than the six-month period,” Zarif said.

He reiterated that Iran would never give up an iota of its nuclear rights, stressing, “We have never sought production of nuclear weapons and do not regard such arms as useful for security of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The fourth round of negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain - plus Germany is to begin in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Wednesday.

It is believed that the fresh round of Iran-P5+1 talks will be the most sensitive stage as negotiators are set to begin drafting the text of a comprehensive agreement aimed at fully resolving the decade-old dispute between the West and Iran over the latter’s nuclear energy program.

The two sides are working to hammer out a comprehensive deal following the interim accord that was reached on November 24, 2013 and went into force on January 20 this year.

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