French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Remarks on Iranian Nuclear Fuel Swap Deal (Excerpts)

May 18, 2010

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

. . .
Concerning the agreement between Iran, Turkey and Brazil on the Iranian nuclear issue, has a deadline been mentioned for Iran to submit this new proposal to the IAEA? France is continuing its efforts in support of sanctions with its partners in New York and Iran seems to be saying that the ball is now in the West's court. […]

The Brazilian and Turkish presidents have done a lot of work.

Regarding the IAEA, we would like to see two things. The first is for the agency to get the text of the agreement and examine it since this is a serious, complex issue, and we hope that the agency will be able to swiftly give its opinion, its perspective, and the results of its analysis of this document. Then, as we said yesterday, the discussions are still ongoing regarding the entire Iranian nuclear issue. What about compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions, the IAEA Board of Governors resolutions, the 20% enrichment by Iran which was just recently confirmed by the head of the Iranian nuclear agency, the questions that the IAEA inspectors had during their visit to Iran to which they have not received any response, and what is going on in Iran's various nuclear facilities? These are the issues that we always keep in mind.

This is only part of the Iranian nuclear problem. It seems that even if the IAEA is in favor of this text there are still all the other issues to be resolved, i.e. the continued enrichment activities, the access to certain sites by the inspectors, and the lack of response to the questions being asked by the inspectors. What is your comment regarding this topic?

We would like to have the Agency's perspective very soon. That does not stop us from reaffirming that there are still a number of questions that remain unanswered. When will Iran respond to the inspectors' questions? When will this country shed full light on the activities conducted at these nuclear sites? We want answers in order to be reassured about Iran's entire nuclear program.

Is the offer that was made in October still on the negotiation table?

As far as I know, it has not been withdrawn. This is probably one of the things that must be updated. As I have often said here, the centrifuges are continuing to spin.

If Iran were to finally respond to the proposal submitted to it by the IAEA in October, we would then perhaps have to look at the quantity of fuel involved.

Is this a new factor in the issue?

No. What I'm saying is completely hypothetical since we have not received a response from Iran to the IAEA proposal. We want to point out that Iran has not responded to the formal proposal that was issued by the Director General of the IAEA in October. We would perhaps have to ask other questions if this country were to respond to this proposal.

Do you think that the Brazilian-Turkish agreement means that Iran is now presenting France and the other countries, which are leading the way in terms of seeking sanctions, with a fait accompli since the Brazilians and the Turks are going to cling to this agreement in order to block sanctions? Have you now lost an opportunity to get the Iranians to back down?

The problem cannot be seen in these terms. The goal is to get assurances on the Iranian nuclear activities and to get Iran to respect its international obligations, to provide transparency with respect to the activities being carried out. We have to work on all these questions. Yesterday we paid tribute to the efforts made by Brazil and Turkey. We also reaffirmed that we still had a number of questions that remained unanswered.