Iran Nuclear NewsU.S. calls Iran backtracking on nuke threat positive

U.S. calls Iran backtracking on nuke threat positive

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Reuters: The United States welcomed news Iran had backed away from a threat to restart work at a uranium conversion plant on Wednesday, a move that averted an immediate crisis over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program. Faced with repeated warnings in recent days from the West not to resume nuclear fuel activities, Iran said it now hoped to do so by early next week. Reuters

WASHINGTON – The United States welcomed news Iran had backed away from a threat to restart work at a uranium conversion plant on Wednesday, a move that averted an immediate crisis over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

Faced with repeated warnings in recent days from the West not to resume nuclear fuel activities, Iran said it now hoped to do so by early next week.

“If they’ve heeded those calls, that’s a good thing,” said State Department spokesman Tom Casey.

“It certainly is a positive thing that the steps that the Iranians had previously suggested they would take have not occurred,” he added.

The West has warned a resumption would mean an end to two years of negotiations on Iran’s atomic ambitions and prompt moves to report Tehran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

Iranian officials accuse European negotiators of breaking a 2004 deal under which Iran suspended nuclear fuel work, saying the EU has dragged its heels in the talks started under that agreement.

But the resumption delay — announced on Wednesday by chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani — gives the European Union time to make its planned offer of incentives for Iran to freeze its nuclear fuel activities indefinitely.

The United States has backed Britain, France and Germany in their negotiations with Iran but has agreed with those countries that if talks fail, the Europeans would support a U.S. drive to report Iran to the Security Council.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said they took an irreversible decision to resume nuclear fuel work in the central city of Isfahan, where they hope to convert uranium ore into feed gas for centrifuges.

Centrifuges then enrich uranium by spinning it at supersonic speed.

Tehran says it wants the uranium only to generate electricity but the West suspects it aims to use it to make nuclear bombs.

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