PARIS-VIENNA-TEHRAN, First of August (IPS) As expected and according to its traditional diplomatic maneuvering, the Islamic Republic bowed to its European partners by accepting to delay resumption of nuclear activities by “another 24 hours and perhaps a week.
After menacing the Britain, France and Germany to start works at the Uranium Conversion Facilities (UCF) situated near the central city of Esfahan on Monday first of August and despite presenting a letter to that effect to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAES) in Vienna, Tehran said it would wait until receiving the European Union’s so-called “Big 3” proposal, provided it contains an official recognition of the right of Iran to enrich uranium, the most important step in the cycle leading to the production of atomic energy.
Do not take unnecessary and damaging measures
Speaking on behalf of the Troika, London, that present president of the 25-members European Union immediately warned Tehran of “not taking unnecessary and damaging measures” at a time that the two-years long negotiations between the two sides over Iranian nuclear projects are nearing a “positive and conclusive end”.
Iranian officials said on Sunday 31 July that since the Big 3 had failed its engagements, meaning presenting a comprehensive and complete proposal by the end of July, the Europeans responded that they had put the date at the last week of July of the first week of August 2005.
“Since we have not received the European p roposals by the end of July, we shall start work at the UCF by cutting the seals placed there by international inspectors, but continue the suspension of uranium enriching”, Ali Aqa Mohammad, the Head of international communication department of the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) told reporters on Sunday.
Diplomats speaking on condition of not being named said the reason the EU wanted a week delay it was because of the end of the mandate of the outgoing President Mohammad Khatami and its replacement by the president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad.
“After a meeting that lasted for 3 hours, the SCNS decided not to resume enriching uranium at this stage but go ahead with taking off seals at the UCF in the presence of international inspectors in the one hand and continue negotiations with the European partners to achieve positive results on the other”, Mr. Aqa Mohammadi told the students news agency ISNA on Monday.
The laconic and deliberately vague statement came after the Big 3 stayed firm, warning Tehran that in case it goes against its previous engagements, it would accept American demands to transfer the issue to the United Nations Security Council for possible harsh economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“We are both concerned and astonished at contradictory statements coming from Tehran. But anyhow, the Iranian must be sure that we are bind by our engagements and the proposal we are going to present them is very generous and encouraging, as it includes Iran’s rights to nuclear technologies for peaceful uses and intensive cooperation in political and economic fields”, a French Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman told journalists.
We shall refrain enriching uranium and continue talking to Europeans
Taking same line as Paris and London, German Foreign Affairs Minister Joschka Fischer again advised the ruling Iranian ayatollahs “not to miss the opportunity and specially, not to misinterpret Europeans attitude”.
According to Mr. Aqa Mohammadi, Iran had told the EU 3 it would wait for a press conference by Mr. Xavier Solana, the European Security and Foreign Affairs Minister or any other official personality stating officially the right of Iran to enriching uranium and then we can wait even until 7 of August (as demanded by the Big 3).
“We checked all international media, but since there was no such press conference, we gave the IAEA the letter informing the Agency about our decision to resume works at the Esfahan UCF”, he explained.
For his part, the IAEA Egyptian General Director Mohammad Elbarade’i also called on Tehran not to resume the suspended nuclear activities and not undermine the ongoing talks with the EU 3.
“Incoming Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who takes office August 3, has been given a hand-made and potentially explosive crisis by outgoing President Mohammad Khatami”, the Hong Kong-based internet newspaper “Asia Times Online” commented on Monday in an article about this last tension between Tehran and the Europeans.
One Iranian analyst confirmed, telling Iran Press Service that the aim of Tehran by raising stakes at this particular time, “right in between one outgoing president described as moderate and an incoming portrayed as hard line is to prepare the European negotiators of the hard times to come”. ENDS IRAN BIG 3 NUCLEAR 1805