Expert: Iran won't agree to implement IAEA Additional Protocol unless "5+1" group makes major concession

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 23 /Trend, I.Huseynov/

Deputy secretary of the press-service of the National Security Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran Abulfazl Zohrehvand qualifies Istanbul round of talks on Iran's nuclear program between the "5+1 group" (the permanent members of UN Security Council - the U.S., China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany) as a positive, while EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, expressed her "disappointment". In this regard, it doesn't seem that much progress was made, professor at University of Southern California, American expert Mohammad Sahimi, Iranian by nationality, told Trend.

"The US and its allies are apparently interested in talking about swapping of Iran's low enriched uranium and about suspending of its uranium enrichment program. And Iranians, in turn, are apparently not interested in suspending uranium enrichment program. They even won't talk about it. So if that is the position of the two sides, I don't see how any significant progress can be made", Sahimi said.

The two-day talks of representatives of the so-called 5+1 group (Russia, China, USA, France, Britain and Germany) with Iran to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue ended in Istanbul on Saturday. 

Catherine Ashton said that Iran and six world powers ended talks in Istanbul without significant progress.  "We had hoped to embark on a discussion of practical ways forward. I'm disappointed to say that this was not possible," Ashton said at a press conference following the talks.

Ashton said the 5+1 group had presented Iran with "specific practical proposals" for building trust but Iran did not accept them. The proposals included an updated nuclear swap deal and ways for Iran to improve transparency in its dealings with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The expert says that Iran is not apparently going to suspend uranium enrichment.  "The position of the "5+1 group" is that Iran should suspend its uranium enrichment program and sign the Additional Protocol of the [IAEA] Safeguards Agreement and allow inspections of its nuclear program. If they are interested in suspension, I don't think Iran is going to suspend it", he said.

Also, according to him, Iran had already signed the Additional Protocol and carried out its provisions for 2 years between 2003 and 2005.

The Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the IAEA complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements.

"The Europeans had promise Iran that they will provide Iran with economic incentive and security guarantees but they did not do it, so Iran decided to set aside the Additional Protocol", said Sahimi, adding that Iran had also said that if the sanctions imposed on the country were suspended, Tehran would consider the additional protocol revision again and implement it.

"But under the present circumstances I don't think Iran will agree to implement Additional Protocol unless "5+1" group makes major concession", Sahimi said.

The U.S. and other Western countries accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons under cover of peaceful nuclear energy program. Tehran denies the accusation, saying its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature. The U.N. Security Council adopted six resolutions over suspension of Iran's nuclear program. Four involve the use of economic sanctions on Iran.

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