TEHRAN, 24 Oct. (IPS) The Islamic Republic of Iran rejected on Sunday 24 October 2004 the European Union’s so-called “Big 3” demanding Iran to stop all activities related to uranium enrichment.
"The question is not to permanently suspend uranium enrichment and the Europeans` proposal itself points to unlimited suspension until an agreement is reached", Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s senior spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters, reciprocating the latest proposal by Britain, France and Germany with the same kind of “carrots and sticks”, saying the offer was “unbalanced”.
Europeans are first required to assure Tehran of fulfilling what they promise.
“Europeans are first required to assure Tehran of fulfilling what they promise”, said Mr. Asefi said during his weekly press briefing, referring to the Trio’s demand of Iran to give up its uranium enrichment program in return for a guarantee of a supply of reactor fuel and to help Iran build a light-water power reactor.
The proposal is considered the last chance for Iran before the next meeting of the International nuclear watchdog’s Board of Directors, scheduled for 25 of November to review Iran’s controversial atomic activities.
In its last meeting, the Board called on Iran to stop at once all its uranium enriching programs or, as proposed by the United States, the whole issue would be referred to the United Nations Security Council for eventual economic sanctions.
In a move to avoid the sanctions, the so-called Big 3, namely Britain, France and Germany took a step forward proposing to supply Iran the fuel it needed for its nuclear power station and the possibility of taking part in the construction of Iran’s future nuclear projects for civilian use.
"The Europeans should give us the assurance that if we reached an agreement, they could implement it", Mr. Asefi said at a weekly news briefing, adding that the Trio’s proposal was “preliminary” and “not final”.
“The conditions sat by the Trio must be juxtaposed with more positive tones and its negative points must be eliminated or reduced, the spokesman said, repeating that the legitimate rights of Iran must be “definitely respected and their legitimacy recognised”.
Earlier on the day, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, one of Iran's top negotiators on nuclear issue, told the state-run, conservatives-controlled television that the Europeans' offer was “positive” but Iran could not give up its enrichment program.
"The Islamic Republic cannot rely on the fuel the Europeans are offering, because they might withdraw it any time there are differences in relations", he observed, adding, "We need to become independent in providing our own fuel".
His point was strongly backed by two of the regime’s heavyweights, namely the Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and the Speaker of the conservatives-controlled Majles Mr. Qolamali Haddad Adel, both stressing that Iran’s quest for nuclear technologies was “unchangeable and nonnegotiable”.
Iran’s hard line attitude towards the IAEA and Europe was approved by the new parliament that has pressed the Government of the powerless President Mohammad Khatami to get out of the NPT and resume enriching uranium.
As Mr. Asefi was repeating Iran’s stand on the controversial issue, including agreeing to the Additional protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), hard line lawmakers proposed Iran’s own “trigger” plan to meet demands by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), menacing that they would not approve the Protocol.
We must reach a median solution which removes the Europeans` concerns and recognise our rights in the framework of the NPT.
"The continued defiance of principles by the IAEA`s Board of Governors leaves no room for us to ratify the Additional Protocol, and will lead us to question what is the point for the nation to leave its doors open to IAEA inspectors", a statement, read out in parliament, said.
According to the official news agency IRNA, a lawmaker announced on Sunday that several MMs (Members of the Majles) were planning their own “trigger mechanism”, setting a two-week deadline for the Europeans to settle Iran’s nuclear case or have the country quit the IAEA.
"So far, 100 deputies have endorsed this plan which will be presented today", Mrs. Raf`at Bayat, the MM from north-eastern Zanjan province said.
The measure is an answer to an American proposal to include the “trigger” clause in its resolutions so that to warn that any Iranian failure in bringing its nuclear program to light will make a case for making all necessary options, including automatic referral of the country to the UN Security Council.
But under pressure from the European Trio, the proposal was not included in the IAEA’s last Resolution approved on 18 September 2004.
IRNA said Mrs. Bayat also came down heavily on several officials dealing with the nuclear issue, including Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security and Iran’s top negotiator with both IAEA and Europe for what she described as their “reactionary” response to the Europeans.
"In this issue, the Europeans have proceeded on every front, while we have been on the retreat and instead of challenging the imperialists, they have challenged us", she said as Iranian officials are expected to meet again with representatives from the “Big 3” on Wednesday 27 October in Vienna.
Writing in the hard line newspaper "Keyhan", Mr. Hoseyn Shari'atmadari, a high-ranking member of Iran's intelligence services appointed by Ayatollah Ali Kameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic as the Editor of the paper described the latest European proposal as a "package" aimd at depriving Iran of its rights.
"This is the same candy, but in a new pack. There is nothing new that we ignore", he said, accusing the European Trio to have closed ranks with the United States and the Zionists.
"We must reach a median solution which removes the Europeans` concerns -- if there is any -- and recognize our rights in the framework of the NPT", Mr. Asefi said, noting however that the EU has never demanded a “permanent” and “unlimited” suspension of uranium enrichment from Iran.
"This is not acceptable by the Islamic Republic since Iran’s suspension of enrichment has been voluntary and temporary to promote confidence building" he added, referring to Iran’s “voluntarily” suspension of uranium enrichment and manufacture of centrifuge components. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 241004