Iran Nuclear NewsIran Rejects EU Request to Suspend Uranium Conversion

Iran Rejects EU Request to Suspend Uranium Conversion

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Bloomberg: Iran refuses to suspend work at its uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan, a pre-condition set by the European Union to resume negotiations over the country’s nuclear program and avert a referral to United Nations Security Council. Bloomberg

Iran refuses to suspend work at its uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan, a pre-condition set by the European Union to resume negotiations over the country’s nuclear program and avert a referral to United Nations Security Council.

Negotiations between Iran and the EU-3 — France, Germany and the U.K. — collapsed in August after the Islamic Republic removed UN seals from its uranium-conversion facility in Isafahan. The EU-3 had offered Iran trade and technology incentives in return for a halt in the nuclear fuel cycle.

“With respect to Isfahan, suspension was carried out voluntarily, and we will not go back to the past,” a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, told reporters today, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, last month voted in favor of referring Iran to the UN Security Council at a later date. The U.S.-backed resolution, submitted by French, German and U.K. diplomats, found Iran in “non- compliance” with its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.

The Islamic republic could be formally referred to the Security Council as soon as the IAEA’s next board meeting on Nov. 24.

Uranium conversion is the second step in mastering the nuclear fuel cycles, which includes mining, conversion, enrichment and reprocessing. Fuel enrichment, which uses a feed-gas obtained through uranium conversion, can potentially be diverted to production of weapons-grade uranium.

Iran, under pressure from the European Union, froze its enrichment program two years ago.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, not for making bombs. The U.S. argues that Iran, with the second-largest oil reserves in the Middle East, has no need to develop alternative energy sources.

The IAEA and its director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, won this year’s Nobel Peace prize for their work to prevent the military use of nuclear energy, the Oslo-based Nobel Committee said earlier this month.

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