PARIS, 4 August (IPS) As the European Union announced Thursday 4 August that it will call a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Directors early next week to warn Iran against restartingIran
againsta some of its suspended nuclear activities, the French Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy repeated his earlier warning that if the Iranians derogate unilaterally from agreement concluded in Paris on November 2004, “there will be a risk of major international crisis”.
The position of the European Union was always clear: The suspension of nuclear activities is essential.
“The position of the European Union was always clear. The suspension of nuclear activities is essential. If the IAEA is not able to bring the insurances stating that the Iranian nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, the international community can seize the Security Council. But that is clearly not the option which has our favour”, he said in an interview with the influential French daily “Le Monde” published on the same day.
Last week, Iran surprised its European partners when it announced it had decided to start works at some nuclear facilities. However, after warnings from the EU3, it backed off partially, saying it would wait for IAEA to send inspectors and technicians installing monitoring devices at Esfahan Uranium Conversion Faciliy, a process that according to the international nuclear watchdog, it would take at least one week.
“The suspension of sensitive nuclear activities is, since September 2003, a repeated request of the IAEA, which Iran finally accepted in the Paris agreements. Considering the past practices of Iran in regard to its international engagements, it is an essential step for confidence building”, Mr. Douste-Blazy said.
However, Tehran unabatedly insists that its nuclear programmes are for civilian uses only and that it would “never” accept indefinite suspension of enriching uranium, the most important step in the nuclear cycle that leads to the production of atomic energy, being it for peaceful or belligerent aims.
“What appears essential to me at this moment when we speak, they are two things. The first one is to show clearly that we wish to negotiate. But if the Iranians persist in their unilateral choice, then we will ask for a meeting of the board governors of the IAEA and if necessary, that of the Security Council. This negotiation carried out by three Europeans is indeed the business of all the international community: this is why we always took care to inform and consult the other European countries, but also the United States, Russia, Japan or China”.
“In the Paris agreement, Tehran had accepted to suspending voluntarily any significant activity, meaning conversion, enrichment and reprocessing against Europeans engagement to make generous political, economic, commercial, and technological proposals like on safety and the civil nuclear power”, the Minister said, rejecting categorically the Iranian decision of resuming works at the UCF, saying “ultimatum is unacceptable”.
“Nobody must practise the policy of fait accompli. Ultimatum is unacceptable. The United Nations Security Council its resolution 1540 had said clearly: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their vectors is a threat for international peace and security. It is legitimate that each country wants to ensure its security… and the Europeans recognize the right of Iran to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. But this right must be exerted in conformity with other obligations of the nuclear Treaty of non-proliferation (NPT) of which Iran is signatory. Iran does not have identifiable civil need which justifies the development of the activities of production of fissile material, in particular the enrichment of uranium”, he observed.
When reminded that the Iranians explain their decision about starting UCF works because the Europeans, namely Britain, France and Germany did not present their proposals within the deadlines of first of August, Mr. Douste-Blazy responded that the so-called Big 3 or the EU3 were “on time”.
“I am formal: we held the deadlines. During the meeting of the three foreign minister plus Mr. (Xavier) Solana Iran’s chief negotiator Rohani in Geneva on 25 May, Europeans had committed themselves giving Iran by the end of July or at the beginning of August, a global offer; then, in a letter of July 29, we specified that our offer would be given at the latest on 7 of August”, he told the afternoon daily.
The proposals aim at opening a new chapter in the relation of Iran with the European Union and, beyond, with all the international community. In the nuclear field, we propose to support the development in Iran of a secure civil nuclear programme, economically viable and not proliferating, including the access to nuclear fuel.
Nobody must practise the policy of fait accompli. Ultimatum is unacceptable.
That supposes that Iran provides to the international community the objective guarantees of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities. The offer of Europeans contains also ideas to make progress our relation in the political and security fields, in particular on the regional questions of common interest. On this area, it considers the security insurances that Iran could profit. In the economic and technological domains, it covers a vast range of possible co-operation, in particular in the energy field. It also envisages the prospect for an agreement of Trade and Co-operation with the European Union, according to Mr. Douste-Blazy.
When observed that Iranians are “extremely sensitive” to not being aggressed, the Foreign Affairs Minister responded saying all these matter and other can be examined and worked out in negotiations.
“Iran is a large country, great people, which play a very important role and which has the right to security. We are able to give it sound proposals for a guaranteed security. But, let us negotiate and see what can be made. When I speak about risk of international crisis, I also think of the influence of Iran in many countries of the region like Iraq or Lebanon…. It is not thinkable that a country that has signed the NPT, with which we have spoken for now two years, can in a few hours leave the Paris agreements unilaterally”, he went on, warning again that in case Tehran launched out in unilateral actions, it would oblige the EU3 to modify its approach. IRAN BIG3 NUCLEAR 4805