Fartashphoto's Blog

Iran’s nuclear tour proposal almost collapsed

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 14, 2011

Iran’s proposal for a tour of its nuclear sites floundered yesterday (13 January) after China effectively rejected the invitation and Russia cautioned that such a trip could never replace UN inspections or talks between Tehran and world powers.

The European Union turned down Iran’s offer to allow selected ambassadors accredited to the UN’s nuclear watchdog to visit two nuclear installations but snub those from the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany and the United States were not invited. But China, Russia and Hungary, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until July, were invited, leaving the EU in a quandary over what to do.

In the end, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton rejected Tehran’s offer and claimed that the responsibility of inspection lies in the hands of the United Nations.

China, ahead of President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States next week, said it would be “difficult” for its ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to go on the proposed tour.

“The Vienna representative is still in China right now, so it will be difficult for him to go to Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news briefing, without elaborating.

Without the European Union, China and possibly Russia, Tehran’s trip proposal could collapse before Istanbul talks next week between Iran and the so called P5+1 group – the five permanent members of the Security Council along with Germany.

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