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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Tehran, 23 August (AKI) - Details are beginning to emerge of the contents of the document delivered by Iran's chief nuclear negotiator to representatives of UN Security Council member nations plus Germany, with Tehran's response to an offer of incentives in exchange for abandoning uranium enrichment. The 20-page document contains 100 questions, as well as complaints and threats. "The document....contains many interesting points, which we hope will be appreciated by our dialogue partners," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi said Wednesday.

"A positive and constructive approach to the document can help to resolve the actual crisis in a brief period" said Asedi, saying it should be "viewed without political prejudice by interlocutors capable of freeing themselves of American influence."

He suggested that Europe "free itself from America and push for a return of the Iran nuclear dossier to the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency."

The Iranian response to the package of incentives offered on 6 June begins with a chronology of the relationship between Iran and the UN's atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and with Europe, with particular attention to the negotiations of the past three years, on the nuclear issue. The document contains more than 100 questions and ends with some complaints and threatening statements.

The questions - according to people who have viewed the document - refer to the incentives offered to Iran if it gives up uranium enrichment. Having rejected the demand to suspend enrichment, Iran however seems interested in the incentives, especially the measures to facilitate trade and the possible end of the embargo on the sale of used parts for its air fleet.

Chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, while fiercely criticising the decision to refer the Iran nuclear dossier to the UN security council, and accusing the Europeans of renegging on promises made in 2003, stresses the need to resume negotiations, but without pre-conditions.

France's foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has described it as "a very long and complicated document".

Javad Mansouri, an advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, was less conciliatory. "The package of measures is beyond any logic in that they are written in an unacceptable tone," he said. "Our response offers Europe the possibility of avoiding a head-on clash, accepting our observations and not taking decisions which are against the interest of the Islamic republic and which could have dire consequences for them."

Mehdi Mohammadi, an editorialist for the conservative daily Kayhan, which reflects the views of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, is convinced the document has "disarmed the Security Council."

"Now it will be very difficult for the Americans to call into play article 41 of Chapter 7 of the charter of the United Nations which permits the use of instruments of pressure, such as sanctions and economic embargoes, to enforce its resolutions. The West is aware that it cannot impose economic sanctions against Iran and so does not have any other choice but to beg us to return to the negotiating table" he said.

In his editorial, "all that there is to say has been said, and apart from an eleventh-hour miracle, the choice is between under-the-table accords or entering the phase of full-on confrontation."
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