Iran - Europe negotiation package on the nuclear issue
Iran-UN, Politics, 6/16/2008
The Washington Post today reported that "British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday announced plans for new sanctions against Iran " by plans "to freeze the assets of Iran's largest bank, Bank Melli." The report said Brittain is trying the convince the European Union to take similar action.
This comes after reports of secret British documents regarding Iran were found on a train in Britain. The British publication "The Independent" had reported yesterday that "Secret government documents detailing the UK's policies towards fighting global terrorist funding, drugs trafficking and money laundering have been found on a London-bound train and handed to 'The Independent on Sunday'." The report added the documents "contain criticism of countries such as Iran that are signed up to the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body created to combat financial crime and the financing of terrorism. The confidential files outline how the trade and banking systems can be manipulated to finance illicit weapons of mass destruction in Iran."
The Washington Post reported today that Iran has withdrawn around $75 billion from Europe in case of sanctions and reported some saying that assets were converted to "gold and shares and another part has been transferred to Asian banks."
"Today Britain will urge Europe and Europe will agree to take further sanctions against Iran," Brown said Monday. "We await the Iranian response and we'll do everything possible to maintain the dialogue."
Appearing with Brown at a news conference in London on June 16, US President George W. Bush said Iran faces serious isolation and it will be the Iranian people who suffer the most unless the current regime halts efforts to enrich uranium in its nuclear development program. "The free world has an obligation to work together in concert to prevent the Iranians from having the know-how to develop a nuclear weapon," he said.
The president added that the "Iranians must understand all options are on the table."
Gonzalo R. Gallegos, Director, Office of Press Relations at the US Department Of State was asked "can you just clarify whatís going on now with the EU and the U.S., conflicting announcements about the timing of these new Iran sanctions? Because last time I spoke to the EU spokeswoman, she was still saying that they hadnít been fully decided on," to which Gallegos replied "I donít know ... I have not seen any press reporting that states that the EU is not going to look at sanctions. And in fact, the latest press reports that I have say that the EU is going to proceed with sanctions."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad on Monday said the enemies are being annihilated and the victory and development are within reach.
Iranian Second Vice Speaker of the Majlis Mohammad Reza Bahonar said on Sunday that Iran has fully cooperated with the IAEA and there is no room for suspending the enrichment of uranium. He said exerting political pressures would have no impact and will only make the situation further complicated.
A member of Iran's parliament (Majlis) said on Sunday that Tehran was not in a hurry to comment or reject the Group 5+1's latest package of incentives.
The package was handed over on Saturday to Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana who arrived in Tehran Friday night for talks aimed at helping resolve a dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
Solana also presented a message to Mottaki from foreign ministers of the group's six member states (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- China, Russia, France, Britain and the US -- plus Germany).
It was the first time that foreign ministers of all G5+1 have sent a singed letter to Iran, representative of the western city of Boroujerd in Lorestan province, Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters on the sidelines of Majlis Sunday session. He added that Tehran would study the package taking into consideration the "red lines" of Iran's policy. The MP said that Tehran has also reserved the right for non-suspension of uranium enrichment to produce fuel for power plants. Boroujerdi said exchange of packages between Iran and the EU has brought a balance in the process of talks between the two sides.
Iran has lately presented a comprehensive package suggesting consensus on different political, security, economic, nuclear and cultural fields as well as regional and international cooperation with the Western countries as well as international bodies including the United Nations.
Russian Foreign Ministry director general in Political affairs, who accompanied Javier Solana in his trip to Tehran to submit 5+1 group proposed package said in the meeting with Iranian officials we did not talk about enrichment suspension. Speaking in the press conference on Saturday in the German ambassador residence, Sergei Kisly Yak in response to a question concerning Russia's expectations said "Russia's expectation is professional and serious."
The Egyptian Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies said Saturday evening that Iran's package to the nuclear states aims to promote disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Deputy Director of the Center Mohamed al-Sayed Saeid told al-Arabia networks that Iran expected European Union to equally enforce ban on possessing nuclear arms especially in the case of Israel. Referring to Iran's tough stand toward the West on its nuclear program, Saeid stated that "time stays long enough for Iran" that has achieved diplomatic success.
The new package proposed to Iran says in part "Formal negotiations can start as soon as Iran's enrichment-related and reprocessing activities are suspended." Since Iran has indicated that it would not accept such a position, such package can be considered as dead on arrival in light of Iran's strong position on this issue, even though Iranian officials did not hurry to declare so. Also, it is not clear why such a package would have been proposed to Iran knowing the package's fate other than to possibly give Iran the illusion that it is benefiting from this process of negotiation, when such a process may only be allowing the slow but certain imposition of more official sanctions on Iran whether thru the UN Security Council or by the 5+1 member countries.
It is not clear how the UK with its pre-emptive sanctions will be interpreted and effect Iran's position, where Iran has already indicated it would not deviate from its path to enrich uranium for its plants.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Monday that US administration has suffered several failures in decision making over the Persian Gulf and it is unlikely to create another crisis at the expense of the American tax payers.
Mottaki made the remarks responding to a question posed by participants in the 18th international conference on Persian Gulf opened this morning.
Asked whether the US will be the initiator of a third war in the region due to the anti-Iran propaganda launched by the US mass media, he said, "A kind of vacuum has appeared in the US policy-making since the Congress elections.
Opinion polls carried by the US agencies indicated that over 80 percent of people in the Persian Gulf region hate Washington policies in the region, he said. "Hatred towards the Bush policies has even been on the rise in the European states," he added.
Mottaki said that the plots hatched the enemies to isolate Iran have all failed.
Meantime, on the nonofficial side of the general nuclear disarmament issue, Scottish anti-war activist and actor Gerard Kelly has accused the British government of being hypocritical over the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in its policy towards Iran. "It is the height of hypocrisy that we ask Iran to obey the non- proliferation treaty yet our own government blatantly disregards it by commissioning a replacement for Trident," Kelly said.
"Once again, it's do as we say, not as we do," he said in sending a message of support to protesters forming a "peace chain" around Britain's Trident nuclear submarine base at Faslane, Scotland.
Oscar winning actress, Emma Thompson referred to her message to the dangers of Britain upgrading its nuclear weapons system in defiance of its commitment to disarm under the NPT. "The insanity and havoc wrought by war has recently been well demonstrated by the UK government.
Iran has been advocating that nuclear armed countries disarm themselves from such weapons.
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