AP: Iran set a deadline Monday for European negotiators to submit proposals to Tehran before it resumes some of its frozen nuclear activities, the speaker of parliament said. Such
a move could lead to the Europeans calling for Iran to be hauled before the U.N. Security Council. The United States wants the world body to sanction Iran over its nuclear program, contending it wants to build nuclear bombs. Associated Press
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran set a deadline Monday for European negotiators to submit proposals to Tehran before it resumes some of its frozen nuclear activities, the speaker of parliament said. Such a move could lead to the Europeans calling for Iran to be hauled before the U.N. Security Council. The United States wants the world body to sanction Iran over its nuclear program, contending it wants to build nuclear bombs. Tehran says its nuclear program is solely to generate energy.
Gholam Ali Hadad Adel warned that a 5 p.m. local time deadline was the “final opportunity” for Europeans to submit a list of incentives aimed at persuading Iran to permanently freeze its uranium enrichment program.
“The Europeans have until 5 p.m. today to submit their proposals,” he told reporters. “At the end of this time Iran will make its decision about restarting part of its nuclear activities.”
Iranian officials have signaled a growing impatience with the slow pace of negotiations with Europe, and an incoming conservative administration in Iran has showed signs of hardening the country’s stance.
Britain, Germany and France have been leading U.S.-backed EU negotiations aimed at persuading Iran to permanently freeze parts of its contentious nuclear program, particularly uranium enrichment.
“We have no intention of cutting off dialogue with Europe. We are willing to continue dialogue with them after we resume part of our nuclear activities,” Hadad Adel said. “Iran will not give in to any further waste of time.”
If European negotiators miss the deadline, Iran will continue the talks, while taking steps to restart stalled uranium reprocessing at a plant in the central city of Isfahan.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called for restraint, telling ARD Television late Sunday that “it is in the interest of both sides, it is in the interest of international stability and peace that this does not escalate.”
Iran’s nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani on Sunday warned that Iran was readying to restart uranium reprocessing work at its Isfahan Nuclear Conversion Facility, which converts uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium gas, the feedstock for enrichment.
Uranium enriched to high levels can be used for nuclear bombs; at low levels it is used as fuel for nuclear energy plants.
On Sunday, an official from the U.N’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna said the Europeans would present their proposal to Iran next week – after Iran’s self-imposed deadline. The proposal was not yet finished, the official added.
If Iran restarts the Isfahan facility, the Europeans would call an emergency IAEA board meeting, the IAEA official said. Such a meeting is likely set a deadline for the Iranians to “see the error of their ways” and stop their enrichment activities.
If such a deadline were not met, then the Europeans – with American support – would push to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for breaking their promise to desist from enrichment while talks were under way. The council could impose sanctions on Iran.
Iran suggested Sunday that the IAEA officials who are in Tehran this week might oversee the resumption of uranium reprocessing in Isfahan.
“We would like to unseal the equipment and carry on the activity under the IAEA,” said Hamid Reza Asefi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman.
Iran suspended enrichment of uranium last November under international pressure led by the United States
France, Britain and Germany, acting on behalf of the 25-nation European Union, had been expected to present the proposals to Iran by the beginning of August, but they requested a delay until Aug. 7.
Iran refused to wait, and said it would write the U.N. nuclear agency about its plans.