GENEVA-TEHRAN, 8 Mar. (IPS) Iranian and European negotiators ended the latest round of negotiations in Geneva on the crucial and controversial Iranian nuclear activities, with sources saying that Iran has toughened its instance on its right to enrich uranium.
“Iran pledged Tuesday to strongly stand against probable pressures as the country braced for a new round of nuclear negotiations with the Europeans, which a senior official described as very decisive”, the Iranian official news agency IRNA said of the talks.
"The next few days` negotiations are very decisive in Iran’s nuclear dossier", Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said of the talks, expected to last for three days and aimed at finding a definite solution to the crisis over Iranian nuclear activities that the United States, Israel and some other nations says has a military end.
The next few days` negotiations are very decisive in Iran’s nuclear dossier.
However, the British News Agency “Reuters” quoted un-un-identified Iranian officials threatening to break off negotiations with France, Britain and Germany if the three European Union heavyweights continue to insist that Tehran abandon all its atomic projects that Tehran says are for civilian uses only, above all producing much needed electricity.
"If the Europeans refuse our proposals in the talks during the next couple of days, their proposals will be strongly opposed by Iran as well", Mr. Asefi warned, confirming earlier statements by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security and also the regime’s chief negotiator on nuclear issue with both the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Troika.
As the talks were underway in Geneva, Iran’s Majles, or parliament urged the government of the embattled President Mohammad Khatami to conduct feasibility studies for the construction of 19 other nuclear powered electricity plants besides the one it has already under construction in the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr with assistance from Russia, due to come on stream at the end of next year.
Observers say the move is a “political bluffing” aimed at raising Iranian stakes in the stormy and so far inconclusive negotiations with the Europeans since the authorities have always said they have plans for producing 7.000 megawatt generating from atomic reactors.
IRNA also reported that lawmakers obliged the government "to take necessary measures to produce and supply part of the fuel" for the reactors, meaning activating uranium enriching operations.
According to the Iranians, the stumbling block lay in the translation of “objective guarantees”. “There are different perceptions of the “objective guarantees”, Mr.Rohani said last week, adding that Tehran also wanted Europe give and respect objective guarantees to Iran, against the same thing the Troika wants Iran to give, meaning that it would not use the nuclear technology for military uses.
Cyrus Naseri, another top member of Iran's negotiating team, told Iran's state television from Geneva that without a compromise there would be no point in further negotiations.
"If ambiguities over the guarantees remain in place, continuation of the talks will be meaningless", said Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, one of Iran’s senior negotiators.
“So far, and after four rounds of talks, the Europeans have not put on the table any serious and tangible proposals on the objective guarantees. If the present deadlock continues, the whole process would be killed”, he warned.
"If the Europeans demand and insist on cessation, it will mean the end of the negotiations", Ali Aqamohammadi, head of SCNS's Propaganda Office told state radio Monday.
"In that case, surely we will resume our uranium enrichment activities. Also we will accelerate our activities to master the nuclear fuel cycle", he said.
Iran criticises the Big 3 of for kneeling to American and Israeli pressures aimed at depriving the Islamic Republic from advanced nuclear technologies that it insists is for civilian purposes only.
If today the government presents lawmaker with the Additional Protocol, it would be rejected out hand.
Iran also reminds that under agreements signed in Tehran in October 2003 and in Paris in November 2004, the Troika had assured Iran of getting the technologies, helping Tehran to get into the World Trade Organisation and buy a half dozen of Airbus passenger planes plus other economic and political benefits, including the signing of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the 25-members European Union provided Tehran gives “objective guarantees” to fully stop uranium enrichment activities.
Finally, Iran blame the Troika for having departed from earlier understanding that Tehran had agreed to “suspend” its uranium enriching operations on a voluntary basis and confidence-building measure by making the full abandon of this and other nuclear-related activities a sine quoi none condition.
"Access to the technology of nuclear fuel cycle so long as it is not aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons while being subject to the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency must not face any impediment", Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a three day conference held in Tehran on nuclear technology.
Asked what Iran will do if the Europeans refuse to accept the country’s position, Asefi said, "We will strongly stand against them and say “no” to their proposals.
"This is the first time that the Europeans have got involved in a big case and want to solve it, thus it is very hard for them. "We hope this will not be the last round of negotiations and they will continue, but this depends on how the Europeans behave", Asefi said.
He also stressed that Tehran was not afraid of being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. "The rights and interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran stand above anything", he said.
"If the Europeans maintain their new language on Iran in the next month’s negotiations, it will be our last nuclear negotiations with them", Ala’eddin Boroujerdi, Chairman of the Majles’ Foreign Affairs and national Security Committee, said.
"In the last round of negotiations between Iran and the Europeans, the latter adopted a new language, talking about permanent cessation of enrichment", he added, warning that if the European’s demand persisted, the Majles would not approve the Additional Protocol the Non Proliferation Treaty.
“If today the government presents lawmaker with the Additional Protocol, it would be rejected out hand”, Mr. Boroujerdi stressed.
The Protocol, accepted by Iran in the 21 October 2003 agreement with Berlin, London and Paris allows international nuclear inspectors to visit at will and on short notice any nuclear site, project or installation without restrictions.
The State Department said the only way for Iran to address concerns over its nuclear program was to agree to a permanent halt in uranium enrichment -- a fuel process which can assist in the operation of nuclear power stations but also produces material for nuclear weapons.
"Unfortunately, we've not seen that kind of attitude from Iran, and we may have to consider what other action to take if Iran does not fulfill its obligations," department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.
He did not elaborate but among options available is hauling Iran to the United Nations Security Council.
“We are not afraid of going to the Security Council, as this would force us to get out of the NPT and leave the negotiation tables”, responded Mr. Naseri.
However, Mr. Asefi hoped Iran would make great achievements in its nuclear negotiations.
"We have had some achievements so far and our nuclear negotiations over the past few years have never been fruitless" he said. ENDS IRAN EU 8305