Iran and world´s leading powers fail to resolve nuclear impasse (TELEGRAPH UK) By David Blair, Moscow 06/20/12)
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Iran and the world’s six leading powers failed to resolve any point
of substance during “tough and frank” negotiations over Tehran’s
nuclear ambitions, declining even to fix another meeting.
After two days of talks in Moscow, Baroness Ashton, the European
Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, announced
that “significant gaps” of “substance” had prevented any progress.
After three such encounters between Iran and the six powers so far
this year, there is no guarantee of a fourth, raising the possibility
that a diplomatic effort designed to avert the possibility of another
war in the Middle East might be drawing to a close.
Lady Ashton, who chairs the “P5 plus 1”, said that both sides had set
out their “respective positions” in “tough and frank exchanges,”
adding: “It remains clear that there are significant gaps between the
substance of the two positions.”
A Western diplomat said: “We don’t want a crisis and a collapse of
talks, but it’s very clear there are significant differences over
substance and, on that basis, we were not prepared to commit to
another round of talks.
“There will be a period of reflection and it’s designed to send a
message to the Iranian side that if they want this process to
continue, they need to come up with an improved offer that includes
Critics believe that Iran aims to use the talks to buy time while
pressing ahead with its nuclear programme. Anxious to avoid this
outcome, western diplomats say they do not want negotiations for the
sake of negotiations.
Accordingly, the only agreement in Moscow was to arrange a meeting of
experts on July 3 in Istanbul to review the technical aspects of the
positions of the two sides. Depending on the outcome of this
encounter, senior diplomats from Iran and the “P5 plus 1” – the five
permanent members of the UN Security Council (American, Britain,
France, Russia and China) and Germany – could meet again, but there
is no certainty. Even the question of whether to allow the experts’
meeting to happen was said to have been a difficult one.
The dispute centres on a proposal made by the “P5 plus 1”. They want
Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 per cent purity, ship its
existing stockpile of this material out of the country and close a
previously secret nuclear plant at Fordow.
Uranium enriched to this level is close to the material required for
a nuclear weapon, although Iran says the only intention is to fuel a
civilian research reactor.
In return for taking these three steps, the “P5 plus 1” were prepared
to ease some sanctions imposed on Iran, notably those restricting the
supply of spare parts for civil airliners.
But Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief negotiator, insisted that the “P5 plus
1” must recognise Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium and lift all
sanctions before any steps could be taken. After the talks, Mr Jalili
said: “The enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes for all levels
is an inalienable right.”
Six United Nations resolutions, by contrast, urge Iran to stop
enriching uranium, a process that could be used to make the core of a
nuclear weapon. (© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012.
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