VIENNA, 22 Dec. (IPS) “The talks are about talks”, had said a European diplomat before the start of a new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the so-called EU3, namely Britain, France and Germany in the Austrian capital on 21 December 2005. “The talks are not about talks”, had said almost at the same time in Tehran the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
It was under such auspices that Iranian, French, German and British diplomats met at the French embassy in Vienna, resuming talks that had been abruptly “suspended” by the European negotiators after the new Iranian government under the “islamo-populist” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had started activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility situated near the historical city of Esfahan in central Iran on August 2005.
The nuclear impasse is now broken and one can see from now a clear perspective
Though nothing concrete was expected from these talks, especially since the Iranian side had again reiterated its “undeniable right to enrich uranium at home”, yet, according to some experts on the scene, the fact that the two sides decided to meet again each other in January 2006 is “a positive step”.
“Since no one speak of failure and as the two sides had decided to meet again, maybe on 18 January, one can say the Wednesday talks are a kind of success”, one EU3 diplomat said.
According to Mr. Hoseyn Entezami, the official spokesman for the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS), the 21 December meeting had “broken the impasse over the nuclear file" and whatever achieved was “a success for Iran”.
“The process that had reached its zenith with the (International Atomic Energy) Agency’s resolution of 24 September is now stopped and one can see from now a clear perspective”, Mr Entezami told the independent daily “Sharq” (Orient) on 22 December, expressing “satisfaction” that the United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA has “at last” reverted to its “natural role as a technical and jurisdictional institution”, adding that the resumption of activities at the UCF would “pave the way for ending the voluntary suspension of nuclear activities (by Iran).
The fact that Western members of the IAEA’s Board of Directors held off from demanding that Iran be sent before the Security Council in November, in order to leave negotiators another chance, is clearly seen by Tehran as a success of their diplomacy.
"On the eve of the November meeting, some politicians advised us to stop uranium conversion at Esfahan to avoid a harsh reaction from the international community. But our principled position gave results and the Europeans agreed to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions. This constitutes a diplomatic success", Mr. Entezami told Sharq.
"It is normal that when we speak of enrichment for the fabrication of nuclear fuel that this means enrichment activities and the nuclear fuel cycle on our own territory", Mr. Mottaki had said on Wednesday, rejecting a proposal by Moscow to enrich uranium in Russia, a proposal that all top Iranian officials said was not.
"The message of the Iranian delegation is to insist on the need for a precise calendar for resuming enrichment inside Iran", the official Iranian ews agency IRNA quoted on Thursday Mr. Mohammad Mehdi Akundzadeh, the Iranian Ambassador to both Austria and the IAEA as having indicated.
What Mr Ahmadinejad has said about (wiping Israel off the world's map) is the official policy of the Islamic Republic
Iranian hard line attitude adopted by the new Iranian Government and its insisting on resuming enriching uranium, if persists, would shut the doors to any compromise and if talks fail, the EU, backed by the United States, would take Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
In the view of Washington, Tel Aviv and several European nations, the Islamic Republic is aiming at producing nuclear weapon and the recent anti-Semite, anti-Israeli declarations by Mr. Ahmadinejad to “wipe off” the Jewish State from the map of the world or his repeated statements that the holocaust, or the massacre of millions of Jews by Nazi Germany is “a myth” have all reinforced the suspicion that the atomic bomb is destined to destroy Israel.
“What the President (Ahmadinejad) has said about Israel is the official policy of the Islamic Republic”, Mr. Mottaki told reporters three days ago on his return from Pakistan, the first Muslim nation to possess nuclear weapons.
And asked about nuclear negotiations and the possibility of facing the Security Council of the United Nations, he said: “The nuclear technology is obtained by our own young people. So, those who want to prevent us from nuclear technology must know that this is something that is home made and nobody can stop us in using it”. ENDS IRAN EU NUCLEAR 221205