New York Times: Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi of Iran on Monday praised the outcome of weekend talks with European negotiators, saying that a preliminary agreement had been reached to suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium immediately. But he emphasized that any suspension would
be only temporary. New York Times
By ELAINE SCIOLINO
PARIS – Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi of Iran on Monday praised the outcome of weekend talks with European negotiators, saying that a preliminary agreement had been reached to suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium immediately. But he emphasized that any suspension would be only temporary.
“We hope that the deal between Iran and Europeans can be finalized and create necessary confidence,” Mr. Kharrazi said of the 22 hours of difficult negotiations in Paris on Friday and Saturday between an Iranian delegation and senior officials of France, Germany, Britain and the European Union.
But, he added, “The talk is about continuing the suspension for a short period to build confidence.”
Paradoxically, Mr. Kharrazi and his negotiator in Paris, Hussein Mousavian, were more optimistic in public than the Europeans in describing the negotiations. The two Iranians described the result as a “preliminary agreement,” while all of the European participants said only that “considerable progress” had been made toward a “preliminary agreement.”
That seems to indicate the desire of the Iranian officials to push the agreement through Iran’s murky political leadership, where agreement is universal that Iran has the right to produce enriched uranium and must not agree to a permanent ban.
Mr. Kharrazi’s comments in Tehran to state-run television underscored the fact that the Europeans had given in on the issue of whether Iran’s suspension of uranium enrichment would be permanent, European officials said. But the Europeans also resisted Iran’s demand that the suspension last only six months, the officials added.
Instead, the suspension will continue only as long as Iran and the Europeans are involved in negotiations for a comprehensive package of rewards for Iran in exchange for a suspension of its production of enriched uranium, which can be used in civilian and military nuclear programs.
The Iranian side is studying a draft agreement that was discussed over the weekend, and European officials said areas of disagreement between the two sides remained when the talks broke up.
But the Iranians have made clear in public statements before and after the negotiations that they want a deal.
If a deal is in place by the time the 35 countries that make up the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, meet Nov. 25 in Vienna, it will block a move by the United States to send the Iran problem to the Security Council for possible penalties.
In Brussels on Monday, Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said an agreement would make referring Iran to the Security Council unnecessary. “I think if we get an agreement we will not see any reason why,” he told Reuters.
In Australia on Monday, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, called the agreement “a step in the right direction,” adding that he hoped that a deal would be completed in “the next few days” and that it would lead Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing programs.
Mr. Kharrazi’s call for the need to “build confidence” is code for the Iranian demand that it be given a package of rewards as proof that it is not suspending its enrichment program and getting nothing in return.
Among the incentives proposed to Iran by the Europeans were the reaffirmation of Iran’s right to a nuclear energy program for peaceful purposes; support in Iran’s acquisition of a light water research reactor; resumption of talks on a trade agreement between the European Union and Iran; support for Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization; continuation of a policy defining as a terrorist organization the Iranian opposition group known as Mujahedeen Khalq ; access to imported nuclear fuel at market prices for Iran’s reactors; and help with regional security concerns, including combating drug trafficking.
In Iran on Monday, the hard-line daily Jomhuri-e-Eslami denounced the talks on its front page and criticized the Iranian negotiators who conducted them.
“Despite the fact that the Europeans cannot be trusted has been proven to all, unfortunately these people have again reached agreement with these three traitor European countries,” the newspaper said.
In October 2003, Iran and the same three of European countries reached agreement in Tehran for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites. But Iran violated the agreement this year, charging that the Europeans had reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives.