Iran Nuclear NewsIran criticises EU for lacking "seriousness" in nuclear talks

Iran criticises EU for lacking “seriousness” in nuclear talks

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AFP: Iranian officials on Sunday doled out heavy criticism of the European Union for lacking “seriousness” in negotiations
aimed at securing guarantees the Islamic republic will not acquire nuclear weapons. Quoted by the state news agency IRNA, top diplomat and negotiator Hossein Moussavian complained that Britain, France and Germany had so far “not shown any seriousness” and that Iran was “seriously doubting their capacity” to strike a deal. AFP

TEHRAN – Iranian officials on Sunday doled out heavy criticism of the European Union for lacking “seriousness” in negotiations aimed at securing guarantees the Islamic republic will not acquire nuclear weapons.

Quoted by the state news agency IRNA, top diplomat and negotiator Hossein Moussavian complained that Britain, France and Germany had so far “not shown any seriousness” and that Iran was “seriously doubting their capacity” to strike a deal.

“Iran has not seen the desired progress,” he was quoted as saying, ahead of a fresh round of talks this week in Geneva.

“Europe has not presented any plan or proposition and has taken no initiative regarding objective guarantees,” he said, warning that Iran’s suspension of sensitive nuclear fuel work could be in danger.

EU negotiators Britain, France and Germany are trying to convince Iran to dismantle nuclear fuel work which the United States says is part of a covert atomic weapons development, in return for economic and political rewards.

The Europeans see a halt in fuel cycle work, including enrichment, as the only way Iran can provide “objective guarantees” it will not use its atomic energy drive to military purposes.

But Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely for civilian energy needs, and that its fuel cycle work is therefore permitted by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

And foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters Sunday that any demand for Iran to completely halt its enrichment activities went beyond a deal reached in Paris last October that kicked off the current round of talks.

“The text of the Paris agreement was in English. There was nothing about permanent suspension. It mentioned ‘objective guarantees’, which means we continue enrichment and they are assured that no deviation is done,” he asserted.

“Our aim in the negotiations is to build trust and for them to respect our legitimate rights. The Europeans have to be careful not to act in contrary to what they have said,” Asefi added.

And he also complained that the incentives on offer were hardly attractive.

“What they are offering are not incentives. They are Iran’s rights, which have been blocked by other countries,” he explained, citing Iran’s membership of the World Trade Organisation — consistently vetoed by the United States — as an example.

“We want to make it clear we are not haggling. We are not looking for incentives.”

The spokesman also asserted that the Islamic republic was not concerned about US threats of being hauled before the UN Security Council.

“We do not want to have our case referred to the UN Security Council. It could be solved by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the EU. But, if it is referred, we are not worried,” Asefi said.

“If the Americans, the Europeans or anyone else think they can threaten Iran with the Security Council so Iran will give up its legitimate right, they are mistaken and one day they will regret it. This is Iran’s red line.”

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