London, June 30, IRNA-European diplomats were reported Thursday to be aiming to blame Iran in preparing for a likely breakdown in their negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme.
Although Britain, France and Germany still intend to keep their promise to put forward new compromise proposals by the beginning of August, some of their diplomats have little expectation that any deal will be accepted by Tehran, according to the Financial Times.
"The focus of efforts by the so-called "EU3" will be to win the ensuing 'blame game' should the talks collapse," it said, citing a French diplomat suggesting that there will be little change to what has previously been offered to Iran.
"It is not exactly as if these will be completely new proposals, but they will be much more detailed and global," the diplomat was quoted saying.
A priority was said to put forward proposals that go just far enough in meeting Tehran's concerns that they will allow Iran to be blamed if they are rejected.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has been reluctant to even outline what type of detailed proposals the EU was considering to present to Iran other than they will be within the "framework" of agreements with Iran.
"I am not going to anticipate what we will propose to a press conference nor seek to negotiate with the new government of Iran through an agency," Straw told IRNA on Wednesday.
Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells told MP in a written parliamentary answer on Tuesday that the EU proposals were "still under internal discussion." But the Financial Times suggested that the proposals are likely to include guarantees of nuclear fuel supply for Iran, if the technical details can be worked out.
They were also expected to include offers of technical assistance similar to a 1990s agreement between the US and North Korea and an encouragement of contacts between Iran and neighbouring countries in an attempt to defuse Tehran's security concerns.
EU officials were also reported to be pessimistic on how the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president will influence Washington's attitude to the negotiations even though they were said to be aware that he does not have a decisive role in nuclear policy.
"It may now be more difficult for the Europeans to convince the Americans to go further in helping out," one EU official was quoted saying.
The Financial Times further reported uncertainty about what will happen if the negotiations break down, saying international unity is "looking tenuous." In such a scenario, the EU is expected to push for a series of resolutions first at the International Energy Agency, staring with calling on Iran to freeze its fuel cycle activities again.
"The basis for initial discussion in both the IAEA board and also the UN Security Council, if it gets there, will inevitably be the Paris agreement," another EU diplomat was quoted saying.
But the daily believed that it was far from certain that the EU3 would win a consensus on the 35-member IAEA board, which includes such countries as China, Russia and Venezuela.
"Some European officials also believe Iran would try to escape censure by resuming its nuclear programme in a piecemeal fashion at first," it said.
But one reported fear was that "such a diplomatic impasse could encourage hawks in the US or Israel to argue for airstrikes against Iran - an outcome the EU3 desperately want to avoid."
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