Iran Nuclear NewsIran determined to pursue nuclear enrichment

Iran determined to pursue nuclear enrichment

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Reuters: Iran is determined to develop all legal types of
nuclear technology, including processes that could be used to develop fuel for weapons, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
said on Tuesday. “Iran is determined to pursue all legal areas of nuclear technology including enrichment, exclusively for peaceful purposes,” Kharrazi told a United Nations-sponsored conference on nuclear disarmament. Reuters

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS – Iran is determined to develop all legal types of nuclear technology, including processes that could be used to develop fuel for weapons, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Tuesday.

“Iran is determined to pursue all legal areas of nuclear technology including enrichment, exclusively for peaceful purposes,” Kharrazi told a United Nations-sponsored conference on nuclear disarmament.

Iran also criticized the United States, which accuses Iran of using its energy program as a front for developing nuclear weapons, for not scrapping its own atomic arsenal as required under the 1970 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

“Unilateral nuclear disarmament measures should be pursued vigorously,” Kharrazi said.

Rising tensions about Iran as well as North Korea, which has said it has nuclear arms, threatened to overshadow a monthlong review conference of the NPT, the cornerstone of atomic disarmament pacts.

The United States on Monday pressed the conference of 188 nations to ensure Tehran and Pyongyang are denied peaceful nuclear energy benefits because they had violated the treaty.

“For almost two decades, Iran has conducted a clandestine nuclear weapons program,” Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker said. “We dare not look the other way.”

In a comment clearly aimed at the European Union’s three biggest powers — France, Britain and Germany — Kharrazi said “no one should be under the illusion” that abolishing its enrichment program would provide what he called an objective guarantee that Tehran would not pursue the bomb.

Instead, intrusive inspections and careful monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, could provide the international community with assurances that Iran’s program is entirely peaceful, he said.

The EU trio wants Iran to give up enrichment forever in exchange for economic and political incentives. Four months of talks have not persuaded Iran to accept the offer.

IRAN WILL RESUME ENRICHMENT

In a deal with those EU countries in November, Tehran agreed to freeze all nuclear fuel-related activities while both sides tried to negotiate a long-term solution on Iran’s atomic ambitions.

But Kharrazi’s spokesman said in Tehran on Tuesday that Iran would resume some enrichment-related work.

“We will definitely restart some activities,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said at a news conference.

The EU trio has warned Tehran they would back U.S. calls to send Iran’s case to the Security Council for possible sanctions if it resumed sensitive nuclear work.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of IAEA, urged Iran on Monday not to “take a unilateral decision to initiate any activities that are currently suspended.”

But Tehran, unhappy with the slow pace of its talks with the EU trio, said it was sticking by its decision to resume some enrichment-related work.

Iranian officials have suggested Iran will probably resume work at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility, where uranium is processed into uranium hexafluoride gas.

It would, however, maintain its freeze on actual enrichment of that gas, a process that can be used to make bomb-grade material.

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