EU calls on Iran to dismantle fuel cycle work - diplomats (AFP-FRANCE PRESSE) VIENNA , Austria 01/26/05 1:37 PM ET)
AFP} Agence France Presse
AFP} Agence France Presse Articles-Index-Top
VIENNA (AFP) - The EU is now calling on Iran to totally dismantle its
nuclear fuel program in order to guarantee it does not seek atomic
weapons, according to confidential reports on deadlocked month-old
talks with Tehran.
Representatives of Britain, France and Germany told Iran
that "nothing short of full cessation and dismantling of Iran´s fuel
cycle efforts would give the EU3 the objective guarantees they need
that Iran´s nuclear program is peaceful," a diplomat said Wednesday,
reading to AFP reports on a meeting held in Geneva on January 17.
Iran has suspended uranium enrichment as a confidence-building
measure but the EU now wants the Islamic Republic to definitively
abandon enrichment as well as any activities for making plutonium.
Iran insists that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees its
right to peaceful enrichment activities.
The Geneva meeting was the second round of talks on a potentially
lucrative trade pact after a deal clinched in November by the
European bloc´s three most powerful members -- the so-called EU3 of
Britain, France and Germany -- for Iran to suspend uranium
enrichment, the key process that makes what can be fuel for nuclear
reactors but also the explosive core of atomic bombs.
The trade deal forms part of a package of incentives for Iran if the
talks produce "objective guarantees" the country is not seeking to
develop nuclear weapons, as the United States charges it is doing.
Iran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful one to generate
The diplomat said the EU trio had agreed not to give Iran any
incentive "goodies until progress was made in the nuclear working
group," one of three in the meeting.
The nuclear group "is setting the pace for the package of
incentives," which are to come from the political and technology
transfer groups, the diplomat said.
The diplomat said Iran had argued that it needs to be able to
generate 7,000 magawatts of nuclear power by 2021, and that it needs
nuclear power for this.
But the European trio said this made no economic sense in oil-rich
The Europeans then "presented their views that what would be needed
would be cessation/dismantling of sensitive parts of the nuclear
program (i.e. the fuel cycle)," a second diplomat said reading from
another report on the meeting.
Diplomats said the Europeans told Iran, however, that they would not
object to a "safeguarded nuclear program," namely if Iran used fuel
it did not make itself.
Iran did offer to limit enrichment to low levels producing fuel that
was not weapons-grade and to allow for more intense monitoring by the
UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"The Europeans said no," the first diplomat said.
The diplomat said Iran had also asked to be allowed to use 20
centrifuges for research, despite the fact that the enrichment
suspension is supposed to extend to all related activities, and the
Europeans rejected this.
Meanwhile, in the political-security working group, Iran called for
a "friendship treaty" with the EU, the diplomat said.
The Europeans offered assistance, with France to help Iran develop an
export control regime, Germany to help with Tehran´s counter-
narcotics strategy and Britain with counter-terrorism.
The Iranians wanted to discuss Al-Qaeda and Iranian resistance groups
but ruled out talks on Hezbollah and Hamas. The EU refused this
limitation, the diplomat said.
The second diplomat said that while Iran was blocking the talks with
its refusal to abandon the nuclear fuel cycle, the EU was stymied
since it needs US backing if it is to offer Tehran key incentives,
such as the trade issue of helping the Islamic Republic join the
World Trade Organization (WTO).
"The Europans can not offer anything to Iran until the United States
comes on board," the diplomat said.
A US diplomat said British Foreign Minister Jack Straw had made this
point in recent talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The United States is not backing, but is also not opposing, the EU
talks with Iran.
A third round of talks between the EU3 and Iran is scheduled for
February in Geneva. (Copyright © 2005 Agence France Presse. 01/26/05)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY