The six powers holding nuclear talks with Iran have no intention of relaxing their position presented in Baghdad last month, even if this approach scuttles talks, a senior Israeli official has told Haaretz.
The negotiating teams of Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) arrived in Moscow yesterday for the third round of talks. The negotiations will begin today and continue until tomorrow evening.
According to the senior official speaking to Haaretz, Israel was told in recent days that the powers would demand an answer to their Baghdad proposal: this includes a demand that Iran stop enriching uranium to 20 per cent, the removal from Iran of uranium enriched beyond 20 per cent, and the suspension of operations at the underground facility at Fordo, near Qom. In exchange, the powers proposed supplying nuclear fuel for Iran’s research sites, assistance in developing a civilian nuclear programme and parts for Iran’s civilian aircraft.
The official added that the powers have no intention to agree to Iran’s demand to postpone the European Union’s oil embargo, due to begin on 1 July; or the US sanctions on the Iranian central bank, due to begin on 28 June. “The United States and some of the other powers have clarified that they do not intend to budge from the proposition presented in Baghdad,” the senior Israeli official said.
Diplomats from the P5+1 negotiating team have told the Associated Press that the Moscow talks are crucial, as this round will probably be the last for some time. Moreover, diplomats have said that if the negotiators fail to make progress in persuading Tehran to stop higher-grade uranium enrichment, it is unclear if or when new talks would take place.
According to the Iranian news agency Mehr, the country’s negotiating team is not optimistic going into the talks. “The quality of the interaction of the Western countries’ representatives in the nuclear talks with Iran coupled with the atmosphere prevalent in the Baghdad talks, a reluctance for preparatory and expert talks before the Moscow meeting, and no authorisation to present effective proposals have almost eroded the chances for a breakthrough in the talks,” the report from the new agency read.