VIENNA, 26 Nov. (IPS) Iran was asked by the International nuclear watchdog to spell out in an official letter that it renounces to except some centrifuges from the deal it coined on 15 November with the European Union’s so-called “Big 3”, Iran Press Service learned from informed sources in Vienna.
At the same time, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, the spokesman for the Iranian delegation said that Iran and the Big 3 “get closer” Friday after hours of direct talks at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over both the centrifuges issue and a draft resolution the Troika had tabled earlier after it learned that Tehran wanted to keep running some 20 centrifuges for Research and Development (R and D) purposes, informed Iranian sources told Iran Press Service.
Hoseyn Moussavian said that Iran and the Big 3 “are getting closer.
The latest minute dispute between Iran in the one side and Britain, France and Germany on the other surfaced after Mr. Mohammad ElBarade’i, the General Director of the Vienna-based IAEA informed the 35 members of the IAEA’s Board that Iran had asked for excepting “dozens” of centrifuges for R and D.
In the confidential report that had leaked to correspondents, Mr. ElBarade’I had also confirmed that Iran had suspended all activities related to enriching uranium, as agreed with the Big 3 on 15 November in Paris.
In a brief talk to reporters before the start of the direct meeting with the Europeans, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, the spokesman for the Iranian delegation dismissed the importance of the centrifuges.
But a German diplomat who asked for anonymity said the issue was a kind of “red line” for the Europeans.
“It seems that by raising the issue of centrifuges, the Iranians want to show their public opinion that they have teeth. That’s OK, but it is not our problem. What we want is Iran to stick hundred per cent to the Paris Agreement”, he added.
According to IPS sources, the Iranian delegation at the Friday direct talks with the Troika was able to get the Europeans to change some of the words the Iranian considers as “humiliating”, like “breach” (of agreement) or “indefinite” suspension (of uranium enriching) or (approving) “without delay” (the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty) with synonymous like “failure” etc.
The Iranian negotiators seemed to be pleased that the Troika has accepted some changes meaning that their case would continue in Vienna and not transferred to the United Nations Security Council, as demanded by the United States.
“In case Tehran refuses to send an official letter informing explicitly that it abides by the Paris agreement and renounces to excepting the centrifuges for R and D, the Troika would withdraw its draft resolution”, a spokesman for the IAEA told reporters, confirming that the views of Iran and the Europeans have narrowed.
“However the question of the centrifuges remains as the central issue”, he added at the end of a session of the Board of Directors discussing the problem of South Korea, where some scientists have for years enriched uranium in secret laboratories, though in a very small quantity.
In case Tehran refuses to send an official letter informing that it renounces to excepting the centrifuges for R and D, the Troika would withdraw its draft resolution.
While Iranians here say that they had informed the IAEA and its General Director about excepting 20 centrifuges for Research and Development needs, European diplomats say they consider this as a breach to the Paris Accords that says Iran has agreed to suspend all uranium enriching activities and approve the Protocols that allows international inspectors to visit any Iranian nuclear site or project at any time, without any restrictions.
For his part, a spokesman for the group of Non Aligned Movement at the Board said the dispute over the centrifuges is between Iran and the Europeans and does not regard the NAM.
Observers said that the group had warned the Troika that if it not introduces some changes in its drafts, the Non Aligned would initiate one of their own and present it to the Board for consideration.
“The third draft worked out by the Europeans is closer to our views and satisfies some of our expectations”, Mr. Moussavian stressed, speaking to Iranian reporters. ENDS IRAN IAEA 261104