Iran sceptical over nucleartalks with EU big three

20th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 October 2004 , TEHERAN - Despite having yet to receive any last-chance offer by the European Union Big Three - Germany, France and Britain - on its controversial nuclear dossier, the Iranian administration is clearly sceptical over a fruitful outcome of Thursdays talks in Vienna. "We should not be deceived by the Europeans, and decisively follow our stance on pursuing peaceful nuclear technology," conservative MP Ebrahim Karkhanehi said, reflecting the general mood of the conservative faction. Represen

20 October 2004  

TEHERAN - Despite having yet to receive any last-chance offer by the European Union Big Three - Germany, France and Britain - on its controversial nuclear dossier, the Iranian administration is clearly sceptical over a fruitful outcome of Thursdays talks in Vienna.

"We should not be deceived by the Europeans, and decisively follow our stance on pursuing peaceful nuclear technology," conservative MP Ebrahim Karkhanehi said, reflecting the general mood of the conservative faction.

Representatives of the EU Big Three are to meet Thursday in Vienna with an Iranian delegation headed by Amir-Hussein Zamaninia, a general director of the Iranian foreign ministry, to offer the Islamic state what is reportedly the last-chance offer to settle the countrys nuclear future.

The only basis for negotiations is acknowledgement of Irans legitimate right for nuclear technology. Anything else would be irrelevant," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said - a stance repeated by other Iranian officials.

Any European proposal ignoring Irans right to peaceful nuclear technology would be considered by Teheran as void," said Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, head of the Iranian Atomic Organization.

There is, however, little hope in Teheran that at least in the short term the EU would acknowledge such a right - especially considering pressure from Washington, which even wants to refer the Iran nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council and impose sanctions.

The main aim (of the West) seems to be to deprive Iran of technology and progress," Aqazadeh said.

The conservative faction, which controls the parliament, has even demanded the government waste no more time with the EU states after these failed to fulfil their initial promise from last October to acknowledge Irans right to peaceful nuclear technology.

There is speculation that the EU Three could offer Teheran light-water nuclear reactors or assistance in partly lifting trade sanctions which had harmed Iran in recent years, especially on lucrative oil and gas projects or renewing its civil aviation system.

However, Iranian officials have stressed that the main aim should be acknowledgement of peaceful nuclear technology and relevant processes including enrichment of uranium, which the Islamic state does not even want to import but obtain from its own mines.

In return, Teheran has promised to do whatever is needed to gain international trust, and to offer guarantees that all its nuclear projects are for peaceful and civil purposes.

But the EU Three have demanded full suspension of any uranium enrichment, and warned - along with the United States - of harsher measures if Iran does not comply.

We have a 20-year development plan in which nuclear technology is to play a major role in moving the country towards growth and progress, and this is something on which the country and nation would never ever make any concessions," MP Karkhanehi said.

Although Mohammed Khatami has constantly emphasized Irans right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme, the reformist president has been trying to cool tension by promising the EU continued cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) despite political differences over the issue.

We should however see whether there is goodwill or not in the European proposal," said Khatami, who has not hidden in the past his deep disappointment with the administrations in London, Paris and Berlin.

His likely successor as president next year, Hassan Rowhani - who is also chief nuclear negotiator - has come up with a compromise which might to some extent break the deadlock.

Rowhani suggested a time-limited suspension of uranium enrichment, at least enabling continued negotiations with the Europeans. This is all we can offer as our sign of goodwill," he said.

Observers believe that the talks on Thursday will not lead to any feasible conclusion, as the Iranian delegation in Vienna lacks sufficient authority.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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