Britain, France to Israel: Deal with Iran possible

Britain, France to Israel: Deal with Iran possible
Thu Oct 10, 2013 09:57:58

Senior Israeli officials and European diplomats have said that Britain and France did not rule out the possibility of reaching an interim agreement with Tehran that would ease some of the international sanctions on Iran.

High-ranking British and French diplomats arrived in occupied lands on Wednesday to meet with their Israeli counterparts, ahead of the six-power talks with Iran that are scheduled to begin in Geneva on Tuesday.

The delegations included France’s top delegate to the talks, Jacques Audibert, and the deputy head of the British negotiating team, Hugh Powell. The two held separate meetings Wednesday with senior figures in the National Security Council, the Foreign Ministry and the Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Ministry.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sent Audibert to Israel after speaking on Saturday night with Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.

The Wall Street Journal reported early on Wednesday that Iran is expected to submit a proposal of its own at next week’s talks in Geneva. It is said to be similar to the one submitted by the six powers to Iran in talks held in Alamaty, Kazakhstan more than six months ago.

One European diplomat said the Zionist regime was being unrealistic in its expectation that an agreement with Iran would end all uranium enrichment in that country, as well as in its expectation that sanctions would not be eased until Tehran’s nuclear program was completely dismantled.

The diplomat said that if Tehran’s proposal in Geneva was similar to that reported by the Wall Street Journal, it would be considered a reasonable one.

Iran has repeatedly underlined that it would not retreat even one iota from its undisputable rights to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The British and French officials told their Israeli counterparts that they disagreed with Israel’s argument that any letup of the sanctions would lead to a breakdown of the entire sanctions mechanism.

The Europeans said the six powers would agree to lift sanctions on Iran’s trade in gold and petrochemical products, but that the European Union’s oil embargo would remain in place, as would restrictions on Iran’s banking system, easing of which would require further concessions.


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