Germany says regrettable that Iran has yet to accept nuclear offer

The logo of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is seen at their headquarters during a board of governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

DUBAI, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Germany expressed regret on Monday that Tehran had not responded positively to European proposals to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, underlining the dim prospects for a deal soon, as Israel urged action to stop Iran becoming a nuclear armed state.

Two days after European powers said they had "serious doubts" about Iran's intentions over the deal, Iran said it was ready to continue cooperating with U.N. nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

But it also urged the IAEA "not to yield Israel's pressure" over Tehran's nuclear activities and revealed a drone capable of hitting cities in Israel, which has threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to save the deal.

On Saturday, France, Britain and Germany questioned Iran's commitment to reviving the deal curbing its nuclear programme in return for a lifting of sanctions, comments that were rejected by Tehran and called "very untimely" by Moscow. read more

The IAEA's Board of Governors meets on Monday, three months after adopting a resolution urging Iran to give credible answers to the agency's investigations into uranium traces at three sites in Iran. Western nations have accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful and that the IAEA investigations are politically motivated.

"Iran announces its constructive cooperation with the agency as its obligation ... While Iran has obligations, it also has rights," Kanaani told a televised news conference.

"Naturally Iran expects constructive actions from IAEA and the members of its governing board."

Kanaani called Saturday's European statement "unconstructive".

"Both the U.S. and Europe should prove that they do not prioritize the interests of the Zionist regime (Israel) when taking political decisions," he said.

After 16 months of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Aug. 8 the bloc had laid down a final offer to overcome an impasse over the revival of the agreement.

Earlier this month, Iran sent its latest response to the EU's proposed text. Western diplomats said it was a step backwards, with Tehran seeking to link a revival of the deal with the closure of IAEA investigations into the uranium traces.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there was no reason why Iran should reject the European proposals on reviving the nuclear deal.

"We are in agreement with Israel that Iran cannot obtain nuclear weapons ... I regret that Iran has so far not managed to give a positive response to the suggestions from the European coordinator," he said.

"There is now actually no reason for Iran not to agree to these proposals. But one has to accept that this is not the case. That's why this will certainly not happen in the near future."

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, speaking alongside Scholz, called for collective action to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon and said it was time to move past previous failed negotiations. read more

SUICIDE DRONE

Israel, which is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arms and which sees Iran as a existential threat, says it will attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran, which has called for the elimination of Israel, has vowed a "crushing" response to any Israeli aggression.

Iran’s ground forces chief Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari said on Monday that Tehran has developed an advanced long-range suicide drone "designed to hit Israel's Tel Aviv, Haifa", the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. read more

The director of Israel's Mossad spy service, David Barnea, warned Iran's clerical rulers against "resorting to force against Israel or Israelis".

"The top Iranian echelon must be aware that resorting to force against Israel or Israelis, directly from Iran or via proxies, will meet a painful response against those responsible - on Iranian soil," Barnea said in a speech at Reichman University near Tel Aviv on Monday.

"This will happen in Tehran, in Kermanshah, in Isfahan," he added, referring to areas of Iran where authorities have reported sabotage operations against facilities or personnel linked to the country's military or nuclear programmes.

Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Rachel More and Matthias Williams in Germany; writing by Parisa Hafezi/Tom Perry; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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