AFP: Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani set a list of conditions, including no UN actions against Tehran, in offering to consider a two-month suspension of uranium enrichment, a Western diplomat told AFP Monday. by Michael Adler
VIENNA, Sept 11, 2006 (AFP) – Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani set a list of conditions, including no UN actions against Tehran, in offering to consider a two-month suspension of uranium enrichment, a Western diplomat told AFP Monday.
“He had a long list including (a) complete and total halt in activity at the UN Security Council, an absolute stepping down from going for sanctions and that Iran would have the right to nuclear fuel technology on its soil,” the diplomat said, in relating a briefing from European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana after his meeting over the weekend with Larijani in Vienna.
“In return for this, Larijani said the Iranians would consider, consider not actually carry out, a two-month halt in enrichment. It was all very conditional,” the diplomat said.
“There was not any new offer on the table from the Iranians. It was all incredibly conditional and all temporary,” the diplomat said.
Solana was talking to Larijani about an offer from six world powers of negotiations on a package of trade and other benefits if Tehran suspends uranium enrichment, which makes nuclear reactor fuel but also atom bomb material.
The six powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — threaten UN sanctions if Tehran does not comply.
Iran refuses, however, to suspend enrichment and defied a UN Security Council August 31 deadline for it to freeze the strategic nuclear fuel work.
The diplomat said: “The condition laid out in 1696 (the Council resolution setting the deadline) is really a simple one, a sign of good faith to stop their enrichment.”
An EU diplomat confirmed that Larijani had made the offer to Solana on Sunday in Vienna.
“He offered a two-month suspension but there were no details and it was not clear when it would start,” the diplomat said.
But Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog in Vienna, denied that Larijani had said this.
Gregory Schulte, US ambassador to the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters Monday that if Iran did suspend enrichment this would have to be “not for one or two months” but that the “suspension needs to be in place as long as negotiations proceed.”
Solana and Larijani said Sunday they had made progress in last-ditch talks to avert UN sanctions and would meet again this week.
Solana said the two men “had cleared up some of the misunderstanding that existed” over Iran’s response to the offer of benefits from six world powers.
The United States is pushing for sanctions at the Security Council to punish Iran for its defiance in continuing uranium enrichment.
Solana and Larijani were believed to be trying to find a face-saving deal.
Iran says its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity but the United States charges that Tehran is secretly developing atomic weapons.