[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]
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Q - Could you clarify Iran's position within EURODIF? Is it true that Iran holds 10%? Does Iran benefit from a transfer of technology from EURODIF? And also dividends beyond the 17 to 18 million euros in 2006?
A - As you know, the present framework for French-Iranian relations in the nuclear field, and more specifically enrichment, dates back to the French-Iranian agreement of 1974 as amended in 1991.
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) holds 40% of SOFIDIF (with AREVA-NC holding 60%). SOFIDIF owns 25% of the stock of EURODIF SA (the remaining 75% being held by AREVA-NC and its European partners).
More detailed information about SOFIDIF and EURODIF can be obtained by consulting the AREVA annual report for 2005.
Under the 1991 French-Iranian agreements, Iran has no access to technology and no right to take enriched uranium.
As the AREVA annual report indicates, "SOFIDIF's activity is limited to taking part in the work of EURODIF's supervisory board, receiving its share of the dividends distributed by EURODIF and distributing it to its own shareholders."
However, the AEOI is one of the entities designated in resolution 1737 whose funds have been frozen and with whom all financial relations are prohibited. In application of resolution 1737 and pending the adoption of a community ruling, the prime minister issued a decree on February 8, 2007 regulating financial relations with Iran (Journal Officiel of February 9). Article 1 of the decree stipulates that exchange operations, movements of capital, and settlements of all kinds between France and abroad, made by and on behalf of the physical and moral persons listed in resolution 1737, are subject to prior authorization from the minister for the economy.
The payment of a SOFIDIF dividend to the AEOI obviously comes under that ruling. In application of resolution 1737, the French authorities are therefore not issuing authorization for the transfer of this dividend to the AEOI.
Once a community ruling on the application of resolution 1737 is adopted by the Council of the European Union, the funds concerned, which are blocked today, will be subject to a community freeze.
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