BERLIN - Key European nations warn that Iran is trying to weaken
international opposition to its contentious nuclear program by stalling on
giving a clear response to terms set by six world powers for negotiations,
according to a confidential document obtained Thursday.
"The Iranian goal obviously is to split the international community," said
the document, drawn up by Britain, France and Germany, and made available to The
Associated Press ahead of a key meeting of the five UN Security Council nations
Iran's Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki
attends a news conference in Tehran, Iran Wednesday Sept. 6, 2006. Mottaki
said Wednesday that discussions were continuing to fix a date and venue
for talks with the European Union over the disputed Iranian nuclear
The nations are scheduled to meet in Berlin on Thursday to coordinate joint
strategy over Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
The 1 1/2 page document, labeled "In Confidence," was sent to dozens of
capitals last week.
It summarizes Iran's response to a six-power offer to Iran dangling the
prospect of technical, economic and political rewards if it agrees to suspend
enrichment before talks begin and consider a long-term moratorium on the
technology, which can be misused to make nuclear arms.
While not specifically threatening UN sanctions, it says the Security Council
will have to consider "further steps" if Tehran continues to defy the council by
refusing to stop enrichment.
The six-power package warned of punishments, including U.N. sanctions, if
Tehran does not halt enrichment - something Iran refused to do by an Aug.
31 deadline set by the U.N. Security Council.
Iran's Aug. 22 response to the six-power offer has been kept confidential.
But the United States and its allies have described it as unsatisfactory,
primarily because of Tehran's refusal to consider freezing enrichment.
Diplomats familiar with the document said it was drawn up by Britain, France
and Germany, which are among the six nations that made the June incentives
offer, to inform other nations of the substance of Iran's counteroffer and share
the Western view that it was inadequate.
"The reply is along the lines of previous Iranian statements in that
typically it neither accepts nor rejects outright" the six-power proposal, said
the document sent to dozens of capitals last week.
By hinting that it is prepared to resume suspension of uranium enrichment,
the document says, Iran's goal "obviously is to split the international
community and draw us into a process of talks about talks, on Iranian terms,
while making no commitments of its own while continuing with its enrichment
The document described Iran's response as "verbose and complicated, and
ambiguous in many places."
Iran promises that it is prepared to discuss the suspension of uranium
enrichment "in the course of negotiations but not before," the document said. In
addition, Iran demands the "termination" of Security Council involvement in its