VIENNA, 29 Nov. (IPS) Iran formally escaped Monday possible economic sanctions from the United Nations Security Council after the Board of Directors of the international nuclear watchdog approved a draft resolution tabled by Britain, France and Germany.
Iranian diplomats immediately hailed the decision, taken by consensus, as a “victory” for Tehran and warmly praised the “good will” shown by the European Union’s “Big Three” during two days of intensive and sometimes painstaking discussions behind close doors in Vienna.
The draft satisfies most of Iranian major demands
“The draft satisfies most of Iranian major demands”, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, the spokesman for the Iranian negotiators with both the European Troika and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told reporters minutes before the start of the 35- members Board’s meeting.
“The EU final draft is the most positive draft resolution issued on Iran’s nuclear program ever since the crisis on Iran’s nuclear activities started”, he told the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
The meeting of the Directors that had started on 25 November suddenly turned into a major political crisis after the IAEA General Director informed them that Iran has demanded that up to 20 centrifuges be exempted from uranium enriching suspension for Research and Development purposes.
The demand of excepting the centrifuges sparked the anger of the Troika, observing that in the agreement Tehran had reached with them in Paris on 15 November it had accepted to suspend all activities related to enriching uranium and as a consequence, asked Iran an official letter stating that it renounces to excepting some centrifuges for whatever aims.
The deadlock was broken after Iran agreed to include the remaining centrifuges in the suspension process that had started from 22 November 2004.
“The existing draft which is a moderate and balanced draft, is completely within the framework of the Paris agreement”, Mr. Moussavian observed.
Informed sources told IPS that without a full support provided to the Iranian negotiators in Vienna by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic in the one hand and cooperation and understanding of Berlin, London and Paris, the Iranian case would “very probably” go to the Security Council, as it was desired by Washington.
The resolution “welcomes” Iran’s “continuing voluntary commitment to full and sustained implementation of suspension
Iran’s demands have been met after seven rounds of discussion with the EU representatives, tens of telephone contacts between the negotiating delegates and officials in Berlin, Paris and London as well as several other contacts with other authorities, stressed Mr. Moussavian, who is also the Head of the Foreign Policy Department of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security.
In the letter to the IAEA, Iran spelled out officially that it would not run any centrifuge and in response, both the nuclear watchdog and the Big 3 agreed not sealing the R and D centrifuges.
According to a IAEA spokesman, Tehran has provided the serial numbers of the controversial centrifuges.
“The centrifuges are now under the control of the IAEA, where monitoring devices have been installed”, the spokesman informed reporters.
"Iran will not conduct any testing in the centrifuges, but they would not be sealed either", Moussavian said.
EU negotiators Britain, France and Germany had given Iran until late Sunday to agree to a full freeze. In case Iran did not finally comply, the European trio were ready to propose a tough resolution and possibly sending the issue to the Security Council.
The draft resolution is a painstaking compromise between US hard line demands and Iranian threats to stop cooperating, diplomats said.
The resolution “welcomes” Iran’s “continuing voluntary commitment to full and sustained implementation of suspension, which is non-legally-binding and confidence building measure”.
The resolution also calls on Iran to ratify “as soon as possible” the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and calls for continuing investigations into sensitive aspects of Iran's program.
In return for the suspension, the EU is offering Iran a package of incentives -- due to be hammered out in more detail when negotiations begin in mid-December -- on trade, security and technology, diplomats pointed out, adding that it includes supporting Iran's bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), an eventual Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU and sharing peaceful nuclear technology. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 291104