Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Down to the Yanks!

According to a recently issued Associated Press report, EU talks with Iran over the issue of nuclear enrichment are now totally deadlocked.

Iran is refusing to consider scrapping its enrichment programme, even though it acknowledges that the programme makes no economic sense.

This is gleaned from a confidential document obtained by AP, which summarises the last meeting between representatives of France, Britain, Germany and Iran. It states that Tehran intends to maintain its enrichment program, whereas the European powers continue to insist on its "cessation" or "dismantlement."

Iran has publicly insisted it only seeks to make low-grade enriched uranium to make nuclear fuel, but the summary of the last meeting on 17 January in Geneva appears to blur that assertion. It says that Iran privately acknowledged what Washington and its allies have argued all along - that as an oil rich country it does not need nuclear energy.

"Iran recognises explicitly that its fuel cycle program cannot be justified on economic grounds," the document says. Nevertheless, the government has insisted that it will only suspend its programme until talks end, either with or without an agreement. No progress whatsoever has been made on the Europeans' insistence that the temporary suspension be turned into a pledge to permanently mothball all enrichment plans and activities.

"The two positions cannot coexist," said a diplomats from a West European nation. "If the impasse cannot be resolved, then there will be no solution."

No solution as far as the EU three go, that is. It looks like it's now down to the Yanks.

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