Talks meant to nudge Iran toward heeding UN Security Council demands to stop uranium enrichment have collapsed, with Tehran shrugging off calls by six world powers to cease the activity that could be harnessed to make nuclear arms.
Announcing the failure of two days of negotiations, EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton said no new date for another meeting had been set and blamed what the six consider unrealistic demands by Iran – an end to UN sanctions and agreement that Iran could continue to enrich – for the disappointing results.
Proposals by the six for improved UN monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities were rejected by Tehran, as were attempts to kick-start dialogue through reviving a subset of international talks focusing on Iran shipping out a limited amount of its enriched uranium in exchange for fuel for its research reactor, Baroness Ashton said.
“We had hoped to have a detailed and constructive discussion of those ideas,” she said.
“But it became clear that the Iranian side was not ready for this unless we agree to preconditions related to enrichment and sanctions. Both these preconditions are not the way to proceed.”
While no new talks were planned, Baroness Ashton told reporters: “Our proposals remain on the table. Our door remains open, our telephone lines remain open.
“The process can go forward if Iran chooses to respond positively,” she said. “We will now wait to see whether they do.”
Tehran denies that it wants nuclear arms, insisting it wants only to make peaceful nuclear energy for its rising population.
But concerns have grown because its uranium enrichment programme could also make fissile warhead material, because of its nuclear secrecy and also because the Islamic republic refuses to co-operate with UN attempts to investigate suspicions that it ran experiments related to making nuclear weapons.