Q. – Iran is a major player in the Syria conflict. There’s been an agreement with the 5+1. Hassan Rouhani has come to Davos; he used very open language. He wants to trade with all the various countries and he said that this agreement was the prelude to a comprehensive agreement. What do you think of this openness? Do you think that within the regime there are leanings towards openness?
THE MINISTER – I negotiated on the nuclear agreement with the Iranians. This agreement proposes unlimited civilian nuclear energy but not military nuclear energy.
There are various pressures. President Rouhani’s language, just like the Foreign Minister’s, is open. The question now is what action there will be. We signed an interim agreement; it indicates that during this period there will be no increase in nuclear activities; on our side, we’re suspending a few sanctions.
We now have to talk about the definitive agreement, and this is more complicated. Indeed, the Iranians must truthfully answer the question of whether or not they agree to give up the prospect of nuclear weapons.
As you’ve said, the negotiations are taking place in the 5+1 format, i.e. the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany on one side, and Iran on the other. The 5+1 has said it doesn’t want the spread of nuclear weapons; so Iran must give up every prospect of nuclear weapons. For the moment, this isn’t very clear on the Iranian side.
Q. – When they talk about use for civilian purposes, what do you say to that?
THE MINISTER – For civilian purposes, that’s fine, but in the preamble to the agreement, France got a phrase added which was taken from something Mr Rouhani said: “Under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons”.
This is the goal, and all the consequences of this must be taken on board, meaning absolute transparency. The IAEA must be able to monitor and know at any moment what’s being done.
We must also take on board all the consequences of a renunciation of nuclear weapons in the future. This means, too, that we have to be equally certain of what’s happened previously in order to know the genealogy and clearly understand what we are monitoring.
France hopes that things will move in this direction, but the negotiation is still ahead of us. (…)./.