Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Iranian Nuclear Deal

This doesn't sound 'definitive' to me. . .

PARIS, Nov. 14 - The governments of France, Germany and Britain are studying a letter delivered Sunday by Iran in which it pledged to suspend uranium enrichment activities temporarily in exchange for economic and political incentives, European officials said.

The officials said it was unclear whether Iran had agreed to all the conditions set out in marathon talks in Paris last weekend with senior officials from France, Britain, Germany and the European Union or had inserted new conditions that could not be accepted.

[. . .]

However, at the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the watchdog agency is called, the mood was more upbeat. (Aren't they always, UPBEAT about these kind of promises?)

A Western diplomat connected to the agency said: "A letter has been received from Iran confirming that it will implement a full suspension of its uranium enrichment program. It's what the Europeans asked Iran to do."

The agency is prepared to include Iran's new pledge in its comprehensive special report on Iran's nuclear activities, expected to be released Monday.

But the three European governments are particularly cautious about a premature embrace of Iran.

The foreign ministers of the three countries brokered a deal, announced with much fanfare in Tehran 13 months ago. In it, Iran agreed to suspend its production of enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear energy or nuclear weapons programs, and to submit to more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.
After Iran violated the agreement, officials from the three countries acknowledged that the deal had been made too hastily and that the language of the final accord was too vague and open to misinterpretation. (It's still the 'words' that were wrong, not the actions. Why is this going to be different?)

In Tehran on Sunday, Hassan Rowhani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, announced that the letter had been given to the three ambassadors. Mr. Rowhani, who conducted the negotiations with the Europeans last year and who reports directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the suspension would not be indefinite. Rather, he said, it would continue "during the period of talks" with the European Union on the entire package deal, which includes a long list of incentives for Iran.

[. . .]

Mr. Mousavian also made clear that Iran's decision was not legally binding. "We have accepted the suspension as a voluntary step, and it does not create any obligations for us," Mr. Mousavian told Iranian state television. . .

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