LONDON-TEHRAN, First of May (IPS) Iran continued its favourite cat and mouse policy Saturday on the second day of negotiations with Britain, France and Germany over the issue of enriching uranium.
As usual, the talks ended with producing no tangible result. "The informal talks have concluded. No conclusions were reached and both sides, the EU Three and Iran, have agreed to go away and reflect on what was discussed and to continue the discussions in future", said a British Foreign Office spokesman.
Although all main Iranian officials reiterated that “whatever” the issue of the talks, Tehran would revert to enriching process, but some have been more cautious, saying the question was linked to the outcome of the negotiations.
We are ready on continue talking and we are ready to give whatever insurances one wants, but enriching uranium is our right and we shall never abandon it under any circumstances.
“We are ready on continue talking and we are ready to give whatever insurances one wants (assuring that Iran nuclear projects are not for military purposes), but enriching uranium is our right and we shall never abandon it under any circumstances”, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Chairman of the Expediency Council and the regime’s most powerful man after the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, told worshippers on Friday.
He also called on the Europeans not to yield to American pressures aimed at stopping Iran getting nuclear technology and repeated that under no circumstances the Islamic Republic would produce atomic weapons.
But both the United States and Israel suspects that the ayatollah’s final intention is to become a full fledged nuclear power, a suspicion also shared by many Iranians.
Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council for National Security in charge of the nuclear talks with both the European Troika and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has indicated that the doors of the exclusive Atomic Club must be opened to Iran.
But as Mr. Hoseyn Mousavian, one of the few senior negotiators expressed displeasure with the three Europeans nations, also referred to as the Big 3, accusing them of deliberately dragging their feet, Mr. Cirus Naseri, another negotiator warned that “time was running out”.
“Time is much shorter than what the Europeans might think”, he said, adding that Iran would “sooner or later revert to its nuclear programs”.
To some European diplomats who are reported to be inclined of continuation of the talks until after the outcome of the Iranian presidential elections, due on 17 June 2005, hoping that the next president could be in a position to take a firm stand on the nuclear issue, Mr. Naseri pointed out correctly that “this has no bearing on the country’s atomic programs”.
"We don't want to break things up now and have a row. We want to continue the negotiating process after the Iranian election," said a European diplomat, declining to be identified.
“No matter who is elected, the nation has a policy and an industry that can not suffer indefinite hold up”, he told journalists, hinting also that like all Iran’s main domestic and foreign issues, whether continuing or stopping nuclear projects depends on the decision of Mr. Khameneh’i alone.
However, political analysts and informed Iranian sources say that the question is dividing the leadership on a vertical line, with some conservative tenors urging Mr. Khameneh’i to be more flexible, warning him that if the Europeans abandon the talks, Iran would face international sanctions.
No matter who is elected, the nation has a policy and an industry that can not suffer indefinite hold up.
According to the sources, the regime is more than ever fragile at home, as seen by the recent troubles in the oil-rich Province of Khouzestan, and isolated abroad.
Contrary to official statements on the solidity of the Islamic Republic, the system is much more vulnerable than one might think.
“This is exactly why the ruling ayatollahs are after the nuclear power”, commented one political observer, pointing to a possible scenario in which regions dominated by ethnics, like Kurdistan and Khouzistan in the west and Balouchistan on the east would erupt in violence. ENDS IRAN NUKE 1505