London, Asharq Al-Awsat & Agencies – Major western powers expressed “their disappointment” with Iran’s letter which contained only an Iranian promise to reply “soon” to the Western incentives basket. These Western nations said yesterday they were left “with no choice other than to impose more sanctions” on Iran, adding that the 5+1 countries have in fact started to discuss “new frameworks” for the possible sanctions.
“The P5+1 (major powers) are discussing next steps in the U.N. Security Council and beginning to consider possible outlines of another sanctions resolution,” State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.
He spoke after major powers held a conference call to discuss next steps against Iran.
The so-called P5+1 consists of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia — plus Germany.
However, an official in the Iranian Foreign Ministry has told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian response to the Western incentives deal is waiting for the “clarification of certain points.” The official, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said Iran does not have a timetable for sending its response to the Western countries, adding that, “Regarding our response, the matter is not clear so far. We are studying the issue and studying the response.”
After explaining that Tehran was waiting for clarifications of ambiguous points in the incentives basket presented to Tehran in June, the Iranian source told Asharq Al-Awsat, “When certain points are clarified, then we will send our response. We are waiting for some clarifications.” But the Iranian official refused to discuss details of the issues which Tehran wants clarified.
Another Iranian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the incentives basket included more than 30 points and that many of these were vague with no guarantees they would be implemented. It added that Tehran did not object to seriously pondering the idea of “suspension in return for suspension”, that is suspending enrichment at its present level in return for suspending the sanctions, but on condition that it has guarantees it would get something fair in return if it stopped the enrichment. It pointed out in particular that the European countries could not offer many of the important points in the Western incentives but the United States could and noted that the points which should have American guarantees to implement them is what worries the Iranian leadership.
Meanwhile, a Turkish Government source said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Ankara, whose date it said has not been set yet and is in response to an invitation from Turkish President Abdullah Gul, would center on the Iranian nuclear dossier. The source, which cannot disclose its identity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey wants to use its position of being close to Iran on one side and the West on the other to bring the two sides’ viewpoints closer. It added that mechanisms and guarantees related to the incentives basket would be among the issues that Ahmadinejad would discuss.
London meanwhile expressed “its disappointment” with the Iranian response saying “there is no choice now other than imposing new sanctions on Iraq.” Kim Howells, minister of state for foreign affairs, said in a statement: “We were disappointed by Iran’s failure to send Javier Solana a positive response to the six major country’s generous offer.” It added: “We have no choice now but to impose new sanctions on Iran. We regret that the Iranian leaders have obviously chosen isolation.”
A British Foreign Office spokesman had earlier told Asharq Al-Awsat that the EU agreed in principle on the ideas concerning the new sanctions on Iran and said these would focus on reducing commercial exchanges between Iran and the West, searching ships sailing from or to Iran, and imposing sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank.”