EU threatens to break off Iran nuclear talks

2nd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 August 2005, BRUSSELS - The European Union on Tuesday threatened to break off its long-running diplomatic talks with Iran if Tehran resumed nuclear activities in Isfahan. An E.U. diplomat said the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain - as well as the bloc's foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana - had written to chief Iranian negotiator Hassan Rowhani warning that a restart of suspended nuclear activities would mean an immediate end to European nuclear diplomacy. "Iran is now proposi

2 August 2005

BRUSSELS - The European Union on Tuesday threatened to break off its long-running diplomatic talks with Iran if Tehran resumed nuclear activities in Isfahan.

An E.U. diplomat said the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Britain - as well as the bloc's foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana - had written to chief Iranian negotiator Hassan Rowhani warning that a restart of suspended nuclear activities would mean an immediate end to European nuclear diplomacy.

"Iran is now proposing steps that would terminate the dialogue," the letter warned.

Diplomats said the letter underlined that the Paris agreements signed by Iran and the so-called E.U.-3 in November 2004 prevented Tehran from engaging in any nuclear fuel cycle activities during talks on a long-term agreement.

The deal included all "enrichment related and reprocessing activities," the letter said.

A resumption of nuclear activities in Isfahan would be in breach of the Paris accord as well as a resolution adopted last November by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the letter added.

"We hope Iran will put on hold its plans and be ready to discuss our proposals on a comprehensive package," said an E.U. diplomat.

If Iran did comply with E.U. demands, a package including trade and aid benefits as well as access to civilian-use nuclear technology would be presented to Iran as scheduled by the end of the week, the diplomat added.

In Paris, meanwhile, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Iran would be referred to the United Nations Security Council if it breached its deal with the E.U. Such a move could mean the introduction of sanctions against Tehran.

"Iran must hold to commitments that have been made," Villepin told Europe 1 radio. "These commitments are commitments to suspend all activity, of conversion, of reprocessing and enrichment of uranium."

If Tehran does not do so, the French prime minister went on, "the international community must draw its conclusions" and eventually "take the case to the Security Council".

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy repeated the demand, calling for an emergency meeting, "as soon as possible", of the IAEA council of governors.

The meeting would "say and specify very strongly and very firmly to the Iranians that they must return to the negotiating table," he said.

If Iran then refuses, Douste-Blazy said, "the international community must go... before the Security Council. Then we will see what sanctions to impose on Iran."

The E.U. warning came as the IAEA said resuming operations at the Iranian nuclear plant in Isfahan could take a week.

"Our technicians are at the site," said IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. But time would be needed to get the necessary equipment for monitoring to Isfahan, she added.

Earlier an Iranian government spokesman said Tehran had taken the "irreversible" decision to start operations again at the plant. These focus on transforming uranium into the gas hexafluoride which is capable of enrichment.

But while the "reopening of the Isfahan plant should be done, enrichment, however, needs further careful negotiations before being resumed," Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told state radio.

Khatami said future developments would have to be taken care of by his successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran says activities in Isfahan will only cover uranium conversion and not enrichment, arguing that this is not subject to the deal with the E.U.

Europeans insist, however, that all nuclear activities must be suspended during talks on a long-term agreement.

DPA

Subject: German news

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