CNN: Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said the new draft resolution put forward by three European powers at a key meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is still unacceptable despite recent changes, Iran’s state-run news agency reported Saturday. CNN
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said the new draft resolution put forward by three European powers at a key meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is still unacceptable despite recent changes, Iran’s state-run news agency reported Saturday.
“There has been a good deal of changes in the draft resolution, but still, there are points that are not acceptable to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and run contrary to the Paris agreement,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said, according to IRNA.
Kharazi also rejected reports from Vienna that Iran agreed to give up the use of 20 centrifuges as part of a plan to freeze its nuclear program entirely.
The Iranians had initially asked the IAEA to exempt the 20 centrifuges, which can spin gas into fuel-level or weapons-grade uranium, despite an agreement reached earlier this month in Paris which obliges Iran to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities until a broader agreement is arranged with Great Britain, Germany and France.
Diplomats in Vienna, where the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency is meeting, are extremely concerned about Kharazi’s comments and told CNN’s Matthew Chance it may make it difficult to put a deal back together again.
Over the weekend, representatives from Iran and Great Britain, Germany and France will hold informal talks in the Austrian capital in an effort to break the deadlock before the IAEA’s board of governors reconvenes Monday at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. ET).
Diplomats familiar with the negotiations Friday said Iran struck a tentative deal with IAEA to give up the centrifuges, and had hoped — as a result of the apparent progress — a new IAEA resolution on Iran’s nuclear program could come to a vote by Saturday.
The deal remains tentative until Iran formally submits a letter to the IAEA outlining the terms and the European countries that initiated the negotiations sign off.
Under the tentative agreement, Iran would give up its request to exempt the centrifuges when negotiators dropped two clauses from a draft IAEA resolution on Iran’s nuclear program, the diplomats said.
The dropped provisions included a trigger clause that would have automatically referred Iran to the U.N. Security Council if it were found that the Iranians had reneged on their promise to stop enriching uranium.
The second clause that was dropped would have given IAEA inspectors Iraq-style access to Iran — allowing inspectors to go anywhere at any time.
The IAEA already has extensive access arrangements, including above-normal access agreed to by the Iranians.
Finally, as part of the tentative deal, the IAEA would agree not to seal the centrifuges with steel wires but would instead monitor them with cameras.
Diplomats said the cameras render the centrifuges unusable but aren’t as offensive to Iranian pride as having the centrifuges wired and sealed.
Iran has maintained throughout the negotiations that its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.