Conditions still apply for nuclear talks: Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:34pm EDT

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a ceremony to mark National Industry and Mine Day in Tehran July 3, 2010. REUTERS/IIPA/Sajjad Safari

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a ceremony to mark National Industry and Mine Day in Tehran July 3, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/IIPA/Sajjad Safari

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TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will resume nuclear negotiations only on certain conditions, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a TV interview aired on Tuesday after the European Union imposed tough new sanctions.

Ahmadinejad reiterated conditions he first set out in June for returning to talks with major powers about the future of Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is purely peaceful but which the West fears is aimed at developing atom bombs.

Talks could only resume if further countries are involved, if the parties say whether they seek friendship or hostility with Iran and if they express their view on Israel's alleged nuclear arsenal, Ahmadinejad said, according to a voiceover on the state-run, English-language Press TV channel.

Talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- as well as Germany (P5+1), meant to address concerns about Tehran's uranium enrichment, stalled last October, leading to a toughening of international sanctions.

Iran said in a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency director on Monday that Tehran was ready to resume talks "without any conditions" on a nuclear fuel swap agreed tentatively with three of the big powers in October.

A diplomat in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, said the statements by Ahmadinejad and Soltanieh were not contradictory.

NO TALKS LIKELY BEFORE SEPTEMBER

Ahmadinejad's conditions appeared to apply to any resumption of wider-scale talks with the P5+1 on Iran's nuclear program.

The narrower fuel swap talks -- held with the "Vienna Group" of Russia, France, the United States and the IAEA -- would be unlikely to restart until September, diplomats said. Iran backed out of the October deal after calling for major amendments.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, who has corresponded with Iran on behalf of the six world powers, has welcomed Iran's offer to return to negotiations, but has not publicly addressed the conditions set out by Ahmadinejad.

Western diplomats have said his attempt to link talks about Iran's nuclear program to statements about Israel, Tehran's arch-enemy, would be particularly problematic.

Ahmadinejad repeated his conditions after the European Union agreed a new round of sanctions, including a block on oil and gas investment [ID:nLDE66P10R] in Iran, following a similar move by Washington and a fourth round of milder U.N. sanctions.

"The logic that they can persuade us to negotiate through sanctions is just a failure," Ahmadinejad said in the interview.

Russia, which backed the new U.N. sanctions, criticized the additional U.S. and EU measures, saying they undermined efforts to seek a negotiated way out of the nuclear impasse.

Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is wholly peaceful but that has not assuaged fears in many countries that, given Iran's restrictions on IAEA inspections, its uranium enrichment activity is ultimately intended to yield nuclear weapons.

A diplomat with knowledge of the fuel swap initiative said Iran's letter to the IAEA ignored issues the three powers -- the United States, Russia and France have raised since October, but discussions would continue concerning possible next steps.

Western diplomats say the swap proposal, under which Iran would send some of its low-enriched uranium -- potential nuclear bomb material -- abroad in exchange for higher enriched fuel for a Tehran medical reactor, is no longer sufficient since Iran's refined uranium stockpile had doubled in size since October.

The issues raised by Washington, Moscow and Paris include Iran's decision in February to escalate enrichment to a higher level of purity than that required for civilian energy.

(Additional reporting by Sylvia Westall in Vienna; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (5)
786daktari wrote:
I find this article’s coverage quite ludicrously interesting. At its very best, its a masterpiece in shoddy journalism. I do however hope that this was not intentional.

Here’s one example from the article:

“According to state-run Press TV, Ahmadinejad reiterated conditions he first set out in June for returning to talks about Iran’s nuclear program, but which his envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency had on Monday indicated no longer applied.”

TRANSLATION:

Ahmedinejad just contradicted himself (again?). He says one thing internationally and reveals his true intentions locally.

INFERENCE:

We can’t trust this guy or Iran especially when they say that their nuclear program is for generating electricity. He’s a threat to the world and needs to be gotten rid of along with his party of merry men.

WHAT ACTUALLY TRANSPIRED:
(and what the article fails to mention):

Sunday July 24:

- Announcement made by Turkish minister that Iran will deliver letter to the IAEA
(Source:http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-07/25/c_13414643.htm)

- Prior to this, there were other announcements made and there was a lot of closed-door diplomacy taking place, knowing for certain that Iran would be willing to make major concessions to avoid a trade embargo.

Monday July 25:

- Ali Asghar Soltanieh presents a letter to the IAEA in what can be seen to say “We’re still hoping that we can talk this out.” The letter was submitted prior to the passing of the sanctions.

- EU which joins the ranks of Canada & US in imposing crippling sanctions and punishing measures on anyone who trades with Iranians per se. The sanctions amount to the waging of an economic war by the 2 nations and 1 bloc.

- Shortly afterwards IRNA (Iran News Agency) and Iran’s UN envoy talk about the letter

Tuesday July 25:

- With the first day that EU sanctions begin (less than 24 hours after the EU has passed the sanctions), Iran wakes up to find out that:

1. The sanctions will bar the “sale, supply or transfer of key equipment and technology for refining, liquefied natural gas, exploration and production”.

2. European investment in major sectors of the Iranian economy will be banned. More than 40 individuals and more than 50 companies will be blacklisted.

3. Any financial transfer from Europe to Iran above 10,000 euros will require notification with national authorities. Iranian banks will be prevented from setting up new branches in Europe.

Source:http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/07/iran_tightening_the_screw.html

- With the crippling sanctions in place and after having offered a try to talks, Ahmedinejad changes stance and says that talks will only take place with certain preconditions.

Also, I like how you juxtapose oil and nuclear technology – “Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.” Oil & Nuclear technology seemingly don’t go hand in hand – Ask Canada about how it manages to get oils from its tar sands and yet have nuclear generators.

My point: Get your reporting straight – the least you can do is look at all sides of the coin and provide a wholistic picture.

ps. I look forward to reading an article from Reuters that talks about Israel’s nuclear programs – please provide a lot of perspectives and details!

Have a peaceful day :)

Jul 27, 2010 11:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
KyleDexter wrote:
Thank God someone is bringing up Isreal’s Nuclear Program. How can you tell one country to give up there Nuclear Program, where another country is not even questioned!!!
It no wonder the West is on the decline, especially in the Middle East!

Jul 27, 2010 1:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jaredsparks10 wrote:
Like Iraq’s “WMDS”, the media’s doomsaying and fear- mongering about Iran doesn’t add up.
And, also mirroring the fanning of hysteria
for the perpetual Iraq War, it is really difficult to ferret the truth out of our media’s spin.

Jul 27, 2010 5:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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