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US-Europe compromise on Iran

Published on 25/11/2003

25 November 2003

VIENNA – After days of intensive negotiations the United States and European countries led by Germany, France and Britain have reached a compromise on the Iranian nuclear programme, various sources said Tuesday.

Diplomats close to the Austrian-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there would be a joint draft resolution at the IAEA Council of Governors session on Wednesday.

Last week the session was interrupted due to apparently insurmountable differences between the United States and Europe.

The United States had demanded Teheran be threatened with immediate notification by the UN Security Council if there were any further Iranian violations of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

The US had insisted on a hard-line approach to enable quick imposition of sanctions with a repeat violation. The Europeans had demanded the IAEA Council of Governors be convened first.

In the new draft, expected to be approved as a consensus decision by the 35 members of the Council of Governors, the UN Security Council is not explicitly mentioned.

Instead, “the Council of Governors” would immediately be convened if “further serious violations” become known. Diplomatic circles pointed out the IAEA could at that stage decide to call in the Security Council.

Iranian IAEA ambassador Ali Akbar Salehi indicated in radio interviews his government could accept the new resolution.

He said Teheran was waiting until the IAEA governors passed a resolution before it signed a supplementary protocol to the Non- proliferation Treaty allowing unannounced and comprehensive IAEA checks of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Some observers had deemed certain Iranian rejection of the supplementary protocol with approval of the tougher, US-backed resolution.

French President Jacques Chirac welcomed the compromise, saying it encouraged lasting and effective Iranian measures necessary to restore trust. EU high representative for foreign policy Javier Solana also said he was “very satisfied” with the compromise.

Throughout the dispute, the United States has accused Iran of working on a secret nuclear weapons programme, which Teheran vehemently denies.

Last week the IAEA presented a report saying there had indeed been Iranian violations of the Non-proliferation Treaty, but there were no signs of nuclear weapons, either completed or under construction.


Subject: German news