Iran Nuclear NewsIran ready to accelerate nuclear activities: official

Iran ready to accelerate nuclear activities: official

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AFP: Iran is ready to accelerate its nuclear activities if agreement is not reached quickly with the European Union
over the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear programme, a chief negotiator said Friday. “A long-term suspension or an end (to uranium enrichment) is stupid, bad and irrational,” Syrus Nasseri was quoted as saying by student news agecy ISNA. AFP

TEHRAN – Iran is ready to accelerate its nuclear activities if agreement is not reached quickly with the European Union over the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear programme, a chief negotiator said Friday.

“A long-term suspension or an end (to uranium enrichment) is stupid, bad and irrational,” Syrus Nasseri was quoted as saying by student news agecy ISNA.

Iran has suspended uranium enrichment, a process which makes fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive material for atom bombs, as a goodwill measure but has repeatedly said it will resume the process if an agreement is not reached with the European Union.

If negotiators from Britain, France and Germany “use threats, the response in terms of threats is perfectly ready”, said Nasseri.

“If we see that an agreement with the European three is not possible, we will accelerate our (nuclear) activities.”

The EU is calling on Iran, in talks which opened in December, to abandon all nuclear fuel activities in order to guarantee it will not make atomic weapons. The United States charges that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons.

“If the Europeans don’t do anything, we will go to the next stage in little time,” he said, referring to Tehran’s plan to resume enrichment activities at its Ispahan plant.

“We won’t be the first to make threats,” he said. “There is a solution on the table and we are ready to resolve the problem … but we do not have much time to give to the Europeans.”

Iran has made a proposal that would allow it build up in phases from enrichment with 3,000 centrifuges, still enough to make one atomic bomb a year, to an industrial level of enrichment with 54,000 centrifuges.

EU negotiators refused at a meeting in London last week to accept a written timetable from the Iranians for the first phase of their enrichment project, diplomats told AFP.

The United States has been sceptical of European efforts to talk Iran out of its nuclear ambitions while promising economic and security incentives but has backed the initiative since March.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has indicated she was giving the EU-3 talks until the summer before considering whether to seek to take Iran to the UN Security Council, which could impose punishing international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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