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Published on November 20, 2013
Press briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman (excerpt)

Paris, November 15, 2013

Q. – How do you interpret the IAEA’s announcement that Iran has virtually frozen the development of its uranium enrichment capabilities during the past three months?

THE SPOKESMAN – We’ve read the report published yesterday evening by the IAEA Director General. In it we note that Iran is pursuing all its sensitive activities.

Although the report doesn’t mention any significant technical progress, Iran’s continued accumulation of enriched uranium stocks and uranium enrichment capabilities, as well as the construction of the Arak reactor, still give France very major grounds for concern. This is the purpose of the discussions under way in Geneva. We made progress last week, without for the moment reaching the first interim agreement we would like.

The transparency gestures agreed between the IAEA and Iran at the beginning of the week are a step in the right direction. But we’re still waiting for Tehran to answer all the questions on the possible military dimension of its nuclear programme. This is an essential element in restoring trust.

Q. – Is there a draft agreement on the table?

THE SPOKESMAN – Yes. There is strong unity and cohesion from the Group of Six and a text has been proposed to Iran. The discussions will continue next week. We would like an agreement on serious, firm foundations to reduce tension and combat the proliferation risks. As the Foreign Minister said, we are firm but not impervious: there’s a right to civilian nuclear energy, but there obviously isn’t a right to nuclear weapons.

Q. – So is there a move at the same time towards lifting the sanctions?

THE SPOKESMAN – We aren’t at that stage. Let’s first wait for an initial interim agreement to be signed with Iran. In this agreement, there will be provisions whereby Iran will provide a number of guarantees on the halting of its nuclear programme, its transparency and its will to cooperate – and probably measures to take formal note of this.

Q. – European countries are already criticizing the agreement.

THE SPOKESMAN – The agreement hasn’t been concluded yet, so criticism of it is premature. An agreement will be a first stage in restoring trust between Iran and the international community. All European Union member states will take this into account. (…)./.

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