Iran Nuclear NewsIran prepares to resume sensitive nuclear work

Iran prepares to resume sensitive nuclear work

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Reuters: Iran said on Sunday it was getting ready to resume some uranium enrichment-related work, despite warnings from Washington and the European Union that doing so
would see its nuclear case sent to the U.N. Security Council. Reuters

By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN – Iran said on Sunday it was getting ready to resume some uranium enrichment-related work, despite warnings from Washington and the European Union that doing so would see its nuclear case sent to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran, which insists its atomic ambitions are peaceful, is threatening to re-start uranium processing but has promised to maintain its freeze on actual uranium enrichment, a process which can be used to make bomb-grade fuel.

“We have decided to resume part of our activities in Isfahan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said, referring to the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in central Iran.

“We have still not decided which activities (will be resumed) and when … We are at a decision-making stage and whether we reach an agreement (with the EU) or not we will do this,” he told a weekly news conference.

Hardline lawmakers, who control a majority of seats in Iran’s parliament, meanwhile, are threatening to pass a new bill obliging the government to resume uranium enrichment itself.

“It is now time to end the voluntary suspension of our uranium enrichment programme,” Alaeddin Broujerdi, head of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told state radio.

“The continuation of negotiations with the EU will have no results except the loss of time … Parliamentarians are very serious about preserving this right for Iran and believe the government should quickly re-start its nuclear programme,” he said.

VIOLATION OF AGREEMENT

Britain, Germany and France, who are leading the EU’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, say a resumption of uranium processing work at Isfahan would violate an agreement struck by the two sides in Paris in November.

Under that agreement, Iran committed to freezing all nuclear fuel manufacture and reprocessing as long as it remained in talks with the EU trio.

Iran has said it has not broken off the talks with the EU, but is unhappy with the pace of the negotiations and does not believe it is breaking the Paris agreement.

“Our decision to resume part of our activities in Isfahan is fully compatible with the essence of the Paris agreement,” Asefi said.

Should Iran start up uranium processing work at Isfahan it would put the EU under heightened pressure from Washington to back its calls for Iran’s case to be sent to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

The EU trio has said it would support U.S. calls for Security Council action if Iran resumes enrichment.

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