AFP: The US State Department on Thursday dismissed Tehran’s challenge of the legitimacy of the role of three European countries — Britain, France, and Germany — who have been negotiating with Iran for two years about its nuclear program. AFP
WASHINGTON – The US State Department on Thursday dismissed Tehran’s challenge of the legitimacy of the role of three European countries — Britain, France, and Germany — who have been negotiating with Iran for two years about its nuclear program.
“We support the EU-3 in their negotiations. We believe that that is the proper forum with the right modalities to — if Iran wants to resolve this issue,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
“Any discussion of trying to change with whom they negotiate … is really, I think, an attempt to change the subject,” he said.
“This is a typical tactic for the Iranian government. They will come up with proposals like this to try to change the subject from what the real issue is, and that is their continued pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he went on.
“We would encourage them to resume their discussions with the EU-3 and, in doing so, take the deal that’s on the table,” he concluded.
Iran’s new hardline nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Thursday challenged the role of Britain, France and Germany as the leaders of diplomatic efforts over the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.
“Based on what logic and agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have the negotiations been limited and dependent on the three European countries?” Larijani was quoted as saying by state television.
“Who does the EU-3 represent in the negotiations? Is it the (IAEA) board of governors, the EU, the United Nations or themselves?” Larijani said, posing an unprecedented question over the capacity of the negotiating partners.
Larijani also signalled that Iran may look towards widening involvement in the talks, which have aimed at pressing Iran into providing “objective guarantees” that it will not use an atomic energy drive as a means to develop nuclear weapons.
The comments were interpreted as an effort to include countries more favorable to the Iranian position than the Europeans, who have cooperated with Washington on the subject.
The United States and the EU agreed meanwhile not to seek an emergency meeting of the UN nuclear agency, even if Iran fails to meet a September 3 UN deadline to suspend atomic fuel work that could be used to make nuclear weapons, diplomats said. Russia had opposed the meeting.