Iran Nuclear NewsIran to resume nuclear work in defiance of EU

Iran to resume nuclear work in defiance of EU

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Reuters: Iran said it would resume nuclear fuel activities on Monday after the European Union failed to respond in time to its offer of new talks. Two years of hard bargaining over a nuclear programme that Tehran had kept secret for 18 years appeared to be heading towards a crisis that could see Iran’s case sent to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
Reuters

By Jon Hemming

TEHRAN – Iran said it would resume nuclear fuel activities on Monday after the European Union failed to respond in time to its offer of new talks.

Two years of hard bargaining over a nuclear programme that Tehran had kept secret for 18 years appeared to be heading towards a crisis that could see Iran’s case sent to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.

The EU “Big Three” of Britain, France and Germany has been trying to mediate between the United States, which insists Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons, and the Islamic Republic which says it has a right to develop peaceful atomic technology.

“We had given them a chance until midday (0730 GMT), but (EU Foreign Policy chief Javier) Solana has not announced any decision,” the spokesman of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Aghamohammadi told state television.

“In the next half hour we will hand a letter to the U.N. nuclear agency saying we will restart activities today,” he said.

Aghamohammadi said Iran was ready to restart work at a uranium conversion plant near the central city of Isfahan.

The European Union said on Sunday a resumption of work at the Isfahan plant would be “unnecessary and damaging”.

It said it could derail talks over the package of economic and political incentives it intended to offer Tehran in return for Iran’s indefinite suspension of nuclear fuel activities.

It was unclear whether the EU would still send Iran its proposals.

SANCTIONS?

The EU, represented by Britain, France and Germany, has said if Iran went ahead and resumed work, then as a first step it would urgently consult the board of the IAEA.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog can recommend referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which could decide whether to impose sanctions.

Aghamohammadi insisted the EU should negotiate Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

The EU has always said Iran must permanently suspend all uranium enrichment activities and instead buy in fuel for a nuclear power station Iran is building near the southern port of Bushehr with Russian help.

Iran insists it has the right to develop the full nuclear fuel cycle and that any EU proposal that denied them this right would be unacceptable.

“Solana’s letter (to Iran) says they are not giving us anything on the atomic programme, if that is the proposal, it is rejected already,” Aghamohammadi said.

“As soon as we get the green light, we can start all activities at Isfahan in half an hour,” said Mohammad Saeedi, deputy of head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation.

The conversion plant near the central city of Isfahan takes processed uranium ore, mined in Iran’s central desert, and turns it into uranium hexafluoride gas. This gas can be pumped into centrifuges that spin at supersonic speed to enrich uranium.

Enriched uranium is used in nuclear power plants, but if highly enriched can be used in atomic weaponry.

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