April 26, 2014

The Third Round Concluded, the Intrigue Continues

In Vienna, has been concluded another, already the third, round of negotiations of representatives of the “Six” (permanent members of the UN Security Council + Germany) with Iran on the nuclear issue.

Some Western experts believed that, taking into consideration the events in Ukraine and around it, caused by the aggressive actions of Moscow and its annexation of the Crimea, and the rapid deterioration of Russia's relations with Western countries, there could be some play between the West and Tehran against Moscow in order to- if not to tear them off from each other, then to complicate as much as possible their opportunity to coordinate their actions. But this did not happen. Negotiators declared only the fact of “establishment of the basis for the next steps”. Neither the “Six”, nor Iran, by the way, has too much time to reach a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program – by July 20.

Note: November 4, 2013 in Geneva, Iran and the “Six” signed an interim agreement, meant for six months. Iran pledged for six months to suspend uranium enrichment to the level of 20%, and not to enrich it in this period to a level above 5%. Iran also pledged to:

  • to destroy stockpiles of 20% enriched uranium;
  • to suspend the construction of a heavy water reactor in Arak;
  • to deploy new uranium enrichment centrifuges and to widen the access of IAEA inspectors to its nuclear facilities.

Prior to the meeting in Vienna, the IAEA in its report on Iran's nuclear program pointed out that the Islamic Republic of Iran had eliminated half of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium, which can be used to create nuclear weapons.

Head of Iran’s nuclear program A. A.  Salehi said on April 19 that Tehran had reduced the level of uranium enrichment up to 5 percent, and also offered to redesign the heavy-water reactor in Arak, in order to limit the amount of plutonium produced.

For its part, April 18, Washington unfreezed Iran’s assets worth 450 million US dollars. It is also reported that the National Bank of Iran received the fifth tranche of assets frozen in connection with the sanctions imposed by the West against Iran. On its accounts have already arrived 2.65 of 4.2 billion US dollars, which are unlocked in accordance with the Joint Action Plan signed by Iran and the international “Six” November 11, 2013 in Geneva.

According to the agreements, Tehran can use these funds for the purchase of foreign currency, gold and goods and services not subject to sanctions.

As pointed out by the Foreign Minister of the EU Catherine Ashton at the end of two days of talks between the parties, “There will be a lot of hard work to overcome the differences.” In this regard, the Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran and the “Six” agreed on approximately 50-60 % of the questions relating to Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported the country's  participation in international negotiations, but at this he stated that Iran would never give up its nuclear program.
Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei supported the country's  participation in international negotiations, but at this he stated that Iran would never give up its nuclear program


Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on the eve of the talks in Vienna stated that Tehran would never stop research and development in the nuclear sphere. He also believes that the relationship of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency with Iran should be normal and not extraordinary.

The White House's Spokesman in a telephone briefing for journalists, reminding of disagreements between Washington and Moscow over Ukrainian events,  at the same time said that “it did not have a substantial impact on the negotiations”,  which the United States, Russia and their partners had with Tehran. She also expressed hope that the participants of the negotiating marathon would be able to prepare a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear issue with Iran on schedule - before July 20 this year.

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for May 13 and again in Vienna.