Iran sets new conditions on maintaining nuclear freeze
TEHRAN (AFP) Jun 05, 2005
A senior Iranian official said Sunday that Tehran has only conditionally agreed to EU demands it maintain a suspension of sensitive nuclear activities until the end of July, the official news agency IRNA reported.
"Iran has conditionally agreed to the EU offer, and Europe has until the end of July to provide a complete proposal with details," Supreme National Security Council offical Ali Agha Mohammadi was quoted as saying.
He said the conditions were that three joint working groups and a steering committee meet before the end of July and "that there is an exchange between the European foreign ministers and the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (Hassan Rowhani)".
Tehran has continued to complain the Europeans have been seeking to drag out the talks, and therefore Iran's nuclear suspension. But the demand for talks to be brought forward may prove a headache for Eurocrats planning their summer holidays.
Mohammadi said the demands were aimed at ensuring that any European proposal is in line with the "agreed aims" of a nuclear suspension agreement signed in Paris between Iran and Britain, France and Germany last November.
"The two sides must have offers in line with the main aims of the Paris agreement, which is objective guarantees on our part and firm guarantees from the European side," Mohammadi said.
Iran has pledged to suspend its activities linked to uranium enrichment, which makes what can be fuel for civilian power reactors or the raw material of atom bombs, for the duration of the negotiations.
But it insists it has the right to carry out enrichment within the framework of a peaceful nuclear programme.
Disagreement over enrichment, which the European trio wants Iran to definitively abandon in return for trade, technology and security incentives almost scuttled the EU-Iran talks that began in December.
But Iran and the European trio agreed at a ministerial-level meeting in Geneva last month to resume talks in August, after Iran's presidential election June 17 and after the EU comes up in July with concrete proposals on cooperation with Iran over its nuclear programme.
A US diplomat contacted by AFP in Vienna said the United States "has no formal view on when or how often they meet as long as the EU3 holds firm on enforcing the Paris agreement and as long as Iran negotiates in good faith on that basis."
The US in particular accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of an energy programme.
Iran insists its bid to master the full nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment, is merely aimed at generating electricity and is a right for any country that has signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It has already proposed starting a phased resumption of fuel cycle work but that has already been rejected by the Europeans.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.