Iran Nuclear NewsFrance joins US protest over UN nuclear chief's comments...

France joins US protest over UN nuclear chief’s comments on Iran

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AFP: France will add its voice to protests by the United States over UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s comments that Iran should be allowed to keep some uranium enrichment, officials said Wednesday. PARIS, May 23, 2007 (AFP) – France will add its voice to protests by the United States over UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei’s comments that Iran should be allowed to keep some uranium enrichment, officials said Wednesday.

“Our permanent representative in Vienna will join the American initiative,” said a foreign ministry spokesman. “We share, along with several other partners, the substance of the concerns expressed by our American partners.”

The United States is seeking to protest directly to ElBaradei for saying in recent newspaper interviews that Iran should be allowed to keep some uranium enrichment, diplomats said in Vienna, the headquarters of International Atomic Energy Agency.

“France continues to support the process undertaken by the (UN) Security Council, including insisting on suspension (of uranium enrichment) and, if there is no suspension, sanctions,” said France’s foreign ministry spokesman.

The United States leads Western nations in insisting that Iran freeze all enrichment work in order to start talks on trade, security and technology benefits in return for Tehran guaranteeing it will not seek nuclear weapons.

Enrichment is hugely sensitive because the process can be used to make the core of an atom bomb as well as nuclear fuel.

Iran refuses to abandon enrichment as it says it needs to produce fuel for nuclear reactors to eventually produce electricity.

ElBaradei told The New York Times on May 15 that Iran has progressed in its enrichment work, as it not only defies UN resolutions but expands its enrichment capacity.

“From a proliferation perspective, the fact of the matter is that one of the purposes of suspension (of uranium enrichment) — keeping them from getting the knowledge — has been overtaken by events,” he said.

ElBaradei said “the focus should be to stop them from going to industrial scale production,” rather than expecting the Iranians to stop all enrichment.

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