24th Jun 2017

UN powers lose patience with Iran

The world's leading powers have agreed to refer the Iranian nuclear dossier back to the UN after no progress was achieved on an EU-designed compromise package.

"We have no choice but to return to the security council and continue the process suspended two months ago," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French foreign minister, after meeting his counterparts from other permanent members of the UN security council - the US, UK, Russia and China - as well as Germany.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • No results for the EU diplomatic mission, so it's back to the UN (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

The meeting was held in Paris on Wednesday (12 July), ahead of a gathering of the G8 - the world's most industralised nations - in St Petersburg this weekend.

Mr Blazy said "The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are prepared to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals."

He referred to Tuesday's discussion between the EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana and the Iranian chief negotiator Ali Larijani which saw no clear response from the Islamist republic on the EU's offer to solve the international dispute.

Crucially, Iran has refused to accept the key pre-condition for kicking off the talks - to suspend uranium enrichment.

Tehran argues enrichment only serves peaceful energy purposes, while the west fears it could be used for development of nuclear weapons.

The Iranians have been pressing for more time to take a decision while firmly rejecting any deadlines - but the French foreign minister Douste-Blazy slammed the attitude as "deceiving."

"It is normal that such study takes some time. But we had said that it should be a matter of weeks, not months," he told the French daily Le Figaro.

He formulated three messages to Tehran. "First, a message of unity, to tell Iran that we are united in asking for answers to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], and UN Security Council demands."

"Then, a message of open-mindedness, to recall our generous offer that will allow creating a relation of cooperation with Iran. Finally, a message of firmness, to reaffirm the concerns of the international community," said Mr Douste-Blazy.

The EU's compromise package is expected to be unveiled on Thursday after being kept secret for weeks to boost its chances of agreement.

"Since the Iranians have not responded we think we should circulate the document," one European diplomat was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.

The offer reportedly includes incentives such as lifting US sanctions on sectors like telecommunications, agriculture or aircraft parts, plus a provision of light water nuclear reactors and enriched fuel, and support for the country's World Trade Organisation membership.

The UN's next move could be a resolution which would make it mandatory for Iran to freeze its nuclear activities - otherwise, it would face international sanctions.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit