Statements made by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Spokesperson (Paris, February 5, 2013)

Iranian nuclear issue

Q - Yesterday, the American vice president talked about bilateral negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue. Does France, as a member of the P5+1, share the same position? Otherwise, what is your position? And he also talked about a new set of sanctions. Will this be an American or an international set of sanctions?
Will there be a meeting in Kazakhstan and has a date been set for it?

Regarding the first two questions, I’m always a little reticent to analyze statements made by authorities other than the French authorities. However, I understand that these American statements aren’t new. Indeed, we are in favor of a constructive dialogue between the Americans and the Iranians provided that, as the American authorities themselves have repeatedly reaffirmed, Iran fully cooperates with the IAEA.

Basically, in my view, the American position hasn’t changed and is still the position agreed by the Six in the wider framework of the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors, namely a dual-track approach, an openness to negotiate, to talk with the Iranians, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, an approach based on the strict condition that the Iranians comply with their international obligations.

To put it another way, if the Iranians don’t come back to the negotiating table, if they will not commit themselves to cooperating in full with the agency, to demonstrating full transparency, to responding to all of the agency’s questions, to providing access to their sites and indeed to complying with their international obligations, then they could face a certain number of sanctions.

Q - With the American vice president you talked about a set of sanctions that would be applied in February?

That’s the mechanics and the logic behind this dual-track approach. As I indicated on Friday, while the Iranians continue to refuse to negotiate, engage in discussions, or comply with their international obligations, they will be subject to successive rounds of increasingly tough sanctions. That’s the position held by the Americans as well as the Europeans.

Regarding your second question, proposals were made to the Iranians in December. They have been procrastinating for a long time. I understand from the statements made by the Iranians last weekend that they have agreed to the proposal for a meeting in Almaty in Kazakhstan on February 26.

Q - So you confirm that there will be a meeting in Almaty on February 26 with the P5+1 group?

Yes.