Written by Staff Writer, CNN
Iran says a new offer to help curb its nuclear program has been rejected by world powers after a week of what Prime Minister Hassan Rouhani said was “secret negotiations” at the negotiating table.
Talks resumed this week after a six-month stalemate that fell out of the spotlight in May. A lack of progress in the talks led to some member states of the UN Security Council calling on Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — the negotiating team called the Joint Commission — to summon the remaining parties.
Now, despite an initial boost, the talks appear to have collapsed. Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday, saying he had “categorically rejected” a new proposal put forward by the five powers.
“It is deeply troubling that the official communique from the Government of the United States on June 28, 2018, seeks to pre-empt any serious discussion by deliberately making a number of false and misleading statements, including some concerning the substance of the JCPOA,” Zarif wrote, citing the Joint Commission document.
“This continues the same toxic diplomacy as before. It’s my strong view that these new developments as a result will undermine any further progress,” he added.
CNN reported the offer from Washington last week, saying it aimed to broker an agreement that would ensure Iran failed to ever obtain a nuclear weapon.
It outlined a document, known as a concept plan, that outlines a one-page set of basic guidelines that include assurance that Iran’s nuclear facilities will be monitored, that it would not seek the ability to enrich uranium, and that would deter any use of nuclear weapons.
State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US offered a “unique” proposal and that some concerns had been raised but those had been “solved.”
“There are a whole variety of questions and concerns that the remaining parties have,” she said on July 2. “I cannot say that we have solved all of the issues today, but I can say that we made some progress.”
Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, speaking to a news conference in Tehran on July 11, said the US offer was “detracting” from their negotiations and that they were now awaiting a response from the remaining powers.
“Although those against Iran have said the negotiations were not moving forward, those in favor say that some of their suggestions have been accepted,” he said.
The Joint Commission meeting, a regular annual meeting of Iran and world powers at the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was scheduled to take place on July 10 in Vienna, close to the headquarters of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.