Iran and EU split because of Tehran's nuclear program

Talks over Iranian nuclear program reached a deadlock

Another round of talks on the future of Iran's nuclear program between Iran and EU is almost brought to naught. Iranians' meeting with joint delegation from France, Great Britain and Germany on 31 August will not take place because Isfahan UCF recommenced its nuclear activity. Seems like strict positions both of the new Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the West can turn Iran into new flash point.

The topic is not new. Enriching uranium activity began in Iran when the leader was still Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called the West, the US and Israel especially, “the Big Satan”. Since then Americans and Israeli have been threatening to attack the nuclear activity facilities. In 1993 Russia provided assistance to Iran in starting the construction of a nuclear power station in the town of Busher. The US responded with applying sanctions to some of the Russian scientific research institutes. Iranian authorities claimed that the nuclear program served only pacific means but the West did not want to believe it. Both sides persisted and the talks did not lead to any results.

Changes came with the turn of the centuries. Already powerful EU tried to carry out its own policy and chose Iran as one of its guidelines. Europeans had all the advantages at their hands. That was the time of Iran's president Muhammed Hatami, who was open to talks with the West. While the USA and Israel were threatening Iran with attacks, France, Great Britain and Germany carried on a dialogue that resulted in signing Paris pact last year to stop enriching uranium activity for temporary period.

New conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought new changes on 24 June. In the US there were claims that the new leader of Islamic republic belonged to the terrorist group that took hostages of the US embassy in 1979, although CIA had to refute these statements later. Nevertheless the new leader made it clear that Iran would start removing all the restrictions of the nuclear activity. George Bush responded by saying, “All options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president. You know we have used force in the recent past to secure our country”.

This time it was more serious than just a usual American-Iranian squabble. In July IAEA inspection equipment was installed at the nuclear center of Isfahan. Then the reactivation of the center began. Europeans warned that they would stop the talks and the Iranian nuclear program would be discussed at the UN Security Council if the activity continued. Tehran responded by saying that threats would result in nothing and that nothing could hamper Iranian rights from developing nuclear-power engineering and the nuclear program.

At the beginning of August Europeans put forward several new proposals in order to prevent diplomatic fiasco. They included the construction of nuclear power station in Bushnir assisted by Western companies, constant supply of nuclear fuel on a long-term basis, guarantees of national and international security, improving economic and commercial collaboration with the West to the point when Iran becomes the main supplier of oil and gas to Europe. Iran had to keep moratorium on uranium enrichment in its turn. Iran seemed to agree, but soon Tehran suddenly changed its mind calling the proposals just a retardation of talks. Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy called up to convoke regular session of IAEA and consider Iran Dossier at the meeting of the UN Security Council.

President Ahmadinejad realized that the country was under threat of serious sanctions and held several phone consultations with the UN and EU administration. Both sides agreed on the new round of talks to be held on 31 August. The EU insisted on its terms. In response the official spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran Hamid Reza Assefi said that Iran was on talks not for the sake of talks merely and that they should result in fulfillment and guarantee of Iranian rights for possessing pacific nuclear technologies. This time Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) president Renй van der Linden replied saying that Iranian nuclear program was threatening the whole region. Although French Foreign Minister Philippe Doust-Blazy tried to tone down the situation by saying that the breakdown of talks does not mean the end, the problem became more complicated because of the new squabble between Iran and EU.

As a result the talks over Iranian nuclear program reached a deadlock. No side wants to make a compromise, preparing for the worst scenario. Russia is at a loss: on the one hand it can take initiative and convince Iran to stop the nuclear activity as its renewal is against Russian interests; on the other hand it is Russians that are building Bushnir nuclear power station. And if it is bombed Russia will lose billions of dollars as it already happened in Iraq.

Ivan Shmeliov

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Author`s name Olga Savka