March 2, 2022
Tehran is demanding the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) shut down a separate inquiry into suspected undeclared Iranian efforts to build a nuclear weapon and linking finding a political solution to unresolved issues at the Vienna talks.
At the same time, the E3 group, which includes France, the UK and Germany, announced that it does not accept derailing the IAEA’s work.
Negotiators from France, Britain and Germany held a lengthy meeting on Tuesday with Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani in Vienna, said Stephanie al-Qaq, director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Kani had returned to Vienna on Monday with strict positions on lifting the sanctions off Iran, especially those crippling its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Moreover, Tehran is demanding the removal of a US foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation against the IRGC.
An informed source told Iran’s government-funded IRNA that France is playing a negative role in solving outstanding safeguard issues between Iran and the IAEA, warning that this could prevent Iran and the P4+1 group of countries from reaching a final agreement during the negotiations in Vienna on reviving the 2015 deal.
“The French are obstructing the settlement of the remaining safeguards issues between Iran and the IAEA, and are pursuing a purely political approach in this regard,” the source said.
They noted that Paris has an important role in diverting the IAEA from its legal-technical approach to political issues, saying, “the settlement of the remaining safeguards issues with the IAEA is one of the important prerequisites to reaching an agreement in Vienna.”
It is noteworthy that IRNA later withdrew its source’s statements.
Al-Qaq, who is Britain’s lead negotiator at the talks, defended the IAEA, and said the UK, France, and Germany opposed interfering in its work.
“We will always reject any attempt to compromise IAEA independence,” she wrote on Twitter.