PARIS-TEHRAN-VIENNA, 15 Nov. (IPS) Iran said on Monday that it considers 25 November as an “important date” for the future of its relations with both the European Union and the International nuclear watchdog.
“In our view, the November meeting is very important, as it would show us if the European Union’s Troika, namely Britain, France and Germany is serious respecting engagements reached in Paris”, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, Iran’s senior negotiator on nuclear issue told journalists in Tehran during a lengthy press conference broadcast live on Iranian radio and television.
In our view, the November meeting is very important, as it would show us if the EU’s Troika, namely Britain, France and Germany is serious respecting engagements.
“What is being published today is a preliminary agreement that would lead us to a firmer and definitive accord in the coming months”, Mr. Rohani observed, stressing that the agreement, known as the “Paris accord” recognises Iran’s rights to enriching uranium “for peaceful purposes”.
Diplomats in Brussels and Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based immediately welcomed the announcements.
"We want a durable, cooperative and long-term partnership with Iran. This agreement opens the way. Potentially it is the start of a new chapter in our relations”, Mr. Javier Solana, the European Union’s senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Security said in a statement from the Belgian Capital, welcoming the accord reached between Tehran and the so-called European “Big 3”.
IAEA also gave its support to Iran's undertaking to suspend all uranium enrichment activities; the key element of a deal with European countries aimed at ensuring Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.
But Mr. Rohani, who is also the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security, reiterated that permanent suspension of enriching uranium was “out of question”.
“In our letter to the IAEA, we announces two new suspensions: A) concerning assembling (new centrifuges) and B) all transformation (enriching uranium) activities”, the cleric revealed, repeating that definitive and complete stopping of uranium activities are part of Iran’s “red line”.
The decision is expected to anger extremists within the ruling “Mollahrchy” who are insisting that the Islamic Republic must leave both the IAEA and the Non Proliferation Treaty.
“In the new understanding, there is nothing named or identified as complete and definitive suspension, as, from the outset, we had insisted and repeated that this is one of our red lines that cannot be discussed. (Uranium enriching) is our legitimate right. It is the right of our people and therefore, it cannot be stopped”, he said, adding that “what is in question is a voluntary and timed suspension aimed at building confidence in the world that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
An American official associated with the Iranian nuclear issue said Washington, -- where the State Department Secretary Collin Powel had offered his resignation to President George W. Bush -- is waiting for word from its European allies that negotiated with the Islamic Republic the new deal.
The decision is expected to anger extremists within the ruling “Mollahrchy” .
The United States, pressed by Israel, suspects that the Iranian ayatollahs are seeking to use technologies for nuclear-powered electricity plants to produce atomic weapons and is pushing the Board of Directors of the IAEA to send the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Security Council for economic sanctions.
"In my opinion, President Bush should adopt a different attitude in his second term of his presidency", Mr. Rohani suggested, when he was asked whether the US is the main and back room power for such negotiations.
"We should exercise vigilance to see what would be US reactions to the issue", the official, who is close to the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, said, noting that (so far) President Bush has not shown any negative reaction.
"We have to wait and see whether in the upcoming IAEA Board of Governors there would be any under-the-table dealings between the US and the Europeans or the Europeans have entered the negotiations with sincerity", he said.
However, diplomats said if the deal announced Sunday with the Europeans is sealed, it would prevent Iran from being referred to the Security Council.
According to the “Paris Understanding”, the European Union, in return for the complete suspension of uranium enriching would help Tehran getting access to fuel needed for its nuclear reactors, possible investment in future atomic plants for electricity and also signing a Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Mr. Rohani said he has informed the IAEA that Iran would stop enriching uranium as from 22 November and hoped that as a result of the next meeting of the Directors, scheduled for 25 November, Iran’s case would enter an ordinary path”.
The IAEA said in a confidential report made available Monday to the American news agency The Associated Press that Iran's promise to suspend the enrichment activities by 22 November “would satisfy some of the agency's demands”.
The agency said other suspicions remain about the nature of nearly two decades of clandestine nuclear programs.
It also called Tehran to task for "many breaches of its obligations" to report all activities that could be used to make weapons to the agency under agreements it has with the IAEA.
(IAEA’s Boss Mohammad) ElBarade’i was "not yet in the position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials" that could have been used for a weapons program, AP quoted from the report, adding that “But all nuclear material that Iran has declared to the agency in the past year has been accounted for, "and therefore we can say that such material is not diverted to prohibited (weapons) activities".
In an important departure from previous reports, the document did not specifically say that ElBarade’i would report to the next IAEA board on Iran. Instead it said it would give an accounting on the country and its nuclear activities "as appropriate."
That wording was expected to be welcomed by Iran, who for months has urged the agency to close its file. The United States, which insists that Iran's nuclear activities are geared toward making weapons, was likely to be unhappy with any suggestion that future pressure would ease.
“The Europeans call on us to continue the enrichment process in a way not to lead to the production of nuclear weapons, this is not a complicated issue, and we call on the IAEA as well as the Non-Aligned Movement to help us assure the global community that this will be guaranteed", Mr. Rohani underlined.
Asked if he is hopeful that the new agreements would be respected and conclusive, he said emphatically that "It is not possible to judge whether these negotiations will result to failure or not. However, when the parties are serious, the end result must be positive. We have entered the talks very seriously and we have the impression that our European partners are also serious", he responded.
Among the issues that still need clarification were the origins of some traces of enriched uranium found within Iran that exceeds levels Tehran said it had enriched to and questions about the Islamic Republic's development of centrifuges used to enrich uranium — a process that can be used to make nuclear fuel or the core of weapons.
While appearing to fall short in some details of a tentative deal worked out between Iran and negotiators from France, Germany and Britain, the suspension agreement appeared to satisfy demand s made in a resolution agreed to at the last board meeting in September.
Bellow is the full text of Iran and the EU’s “Trio” agreement, as distributed by the official news agency IRNA
Iran and the European Union reaffirm the commitments of Tehran Declaration they signed on October 21, 2003 and decided to move forward building on that agreement.
High Representative of the European Union led by France, Britain and Germany recognize Iran’s rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) exercised in conformity with its obligations under the treaty without discrimination, part of the agreement signed in Tehran said.
Iran reaffirms that in accordance with Article II of the NPT, it does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons. It commits itself to full cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran will continue to implement the Additional Protocol voluntarily pending ratification.
"To build further confidence, Iran has decided, on a voluntary basis, to continue and extend its suspension to include all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and specifically: the manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components, the assembly, installation, testing or operation of gas centrifuges, work to undertake any plutonium, separation, or to construct or operate any plutonium separation installation, and all tests or production at any uranium conversion installations. The IAEA will be notified of this suspension and invited to verify and monitor it.
The suspension will be implemented in time for the IAEA to confirm before the November Board that it has been put into effect. The suspension will be sustained while negotiations proceed on a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements", it said.
"The E3/EU recognise that this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation".
Sustaining the suspension, while negotiations on a long-term agreement are underway, will be essential for the continuation of the overall process. In the context of this suspension, the E3/EU and Iran have agreed to begin negotiations, with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements.
The agreement will provide objective guarantees that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. It will equally provide firm guarantees on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues.
A steering committee will meet to launch these negotiations in the first half of December 2004 and will set up working groups on political and security issues. The steering committee shall meet again within three months to receive progress reports from the working groups and to move ahead with projects and/or measures that can be implemented in advance of an overall agreement.
"In the context of the present agreement and noting the progress that has been made in resolving outstanding issues, the E3/EU will henceforth support the Director General of IAEA Board as he considers appropriate in the framework of the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol".
"The E3/EU will support the IAEA Director General inviting Iran to join the Expert Group of Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle", the agreement said.
Once suspension has been verified, the negotiations with the EU on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement will resume. The E3/EU will actively support the opening of Iranian accession negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"Irrespective of progress on the nuclear use, the E3/EU and Iran confirm their determination to combat terrorism, including the activities of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups such as Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MeK).
They also confirm their continued support for the political process aimed at establishing a constitutionally elected government in Iraq. ENDS IRAN IAEA NUCLEAR 151104