Bloomberg: Iran has reduced cooperation with United Nations atomic agency inspectors since the announcement of a U.S.-backed offer of incentives tied to the shutdown of nuclear-fuel production, European Union diplomats said today. June 15 (Bloomberg) — Iran has reduced cooperation with United Nations atomic agency inspectors since the announcement of a U.S.-backed offer of incentives tied to the shutdown of nuclear-fuel production, European Union diplomats said today.
“Cooperation with the agency has been reduced to almost nothing,” said Francois-Xavier Deniau, the French ambassador to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. He was delivering a statement on behalf of the EU.
The IAEA has said Iran began a new round of uranium enrichment on June 6, the day the EU trade and economic incentives were delivered in Tehran.
Iran’s IAEA ambassador, Aliasghar Soltanieh, said today that his country is ready to negotiate “without any precondition,” rejecting a stipulation that Iran must suspend enrichment before talks can start. “The carrot-and-stick policy has always been counterproductive,” he said. Iran’s formal response to the offer will be made “in due course,” Soltanieh said.
In Tehran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today said Iran “will not bend to these pressures, and the continuation of this scientific progress is its fundamental and basic right,” AFP reported.
The EU is awaiting a “positive response” to the “ambitious offer” of incentives, Deniau said. Europe is offering Iran access to nuclear technologies, airplane parts and World Trade Organization membership if it gives up the production of nuclear fuel.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who carried the offer to Tehran last week, had said he hoped for an Iranian response by today. Solana had a “constructive” telephone conversation yesterday with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, Agence-France Presse reported.
The U.S. accuses Iran of developing a bomb in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran maintains the program is aimed at generating electricity in compliance with the accord.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told the agency’s 35-member board of governors, meeting for a fourth day, that inspectors have made “no further progress” in determining the full nature of Iran’s nuclear work.
The U.S. is also willing to join direct talks with Iran, ending a 27-year diplomatic embargo, as soon as the country suspends uranium enrichment.
“We hope that Iran’s leaders will think about what is best for the economic and long-term security of the Iranian people,” the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Greg Schulte, said today in a speech. Iran will face action at the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, if it doesn’t accept the offer, Schulte said.
Iran has a matter of “weeks” to accept the offer, the U.S. has said.