Iran 'will pursue uranium enrichment'12/09/2005 - 18:19:43
The head of Iran’s nuclear programme reiterated today that his country wouldn’t drop its uranium enrichment programme and said Tehran would welcome other nations to join its talks with European negotiators.
Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who is visiting Russia, also said that the new Iranian government wants to increase cooperation with Russia.
Britain, Germany and France, negotiating on behalf of the 25-nation European Union, say they may help draft the language of a resolution demanding Iran be referred to the Security Council if it doesn’t stop uranium conversion by the September 19 board meeting of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency.
Last month, Iran restarted uranium conversion, an early stage of the nuclear fuel cycle that precedes enrichment. Highly enriched uranium can be used to make weapons. At lower levels, it is used in power generation.
Aghazadeh said that Iran will announce some new proposals in the run-up to the meeting, but added that it would never agree to drop its uranium enrichment program.
“This matter has already become a national issue that concerns the whole of Iranian society and I can assure you that no Iranian government will make a compromise on this issue,” Aghazadeh said, according to the Interfax news agency.
He said that several unspecified nations responded positively to Iran’s proposal to join its talks with Britain, Germany and France. He added that “there were no technical or judicial reasons for handing Iran’s nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council".
Russia, which is building a nuclear reactor in Iran, has objected to the US push to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, saying that the IAEA could continue dealing with the issue.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed today that the latest report by UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei “creates a good basis for the continuation of the professional and apolitical work by the IAEA so that all remaining issues relating to Iran’s nuclear program are resolved.”
Iran says its nuclear ambitions are aimed only at electricity generation.
Russia’s £400m (€592m) contract to build the Bushehr nuclear reactor has caused US concerns that the reactor could help Tehran develop nuclear weapons. But US officials praised Moscow for demanding a deal – signed in February – that obliges Iran to return spent nuclear fuel from Bushehr to make sure it is not used in weapons programmes.
Russian and Iranian officials reaffirmed today that the Bushehr plant would be launched by the end of 2006.
“The relations with Russia are of key importance to our state,” Gholamreza Aghazadeh said at the start of his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Russia already has trained about 700 Iranian nuclear engineers, and several dozen Iranian experts are yet to complete training at the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant in south-western Russia, Alexander Ivanchenko, who heads the training centre at the plant, said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
While Russia has defended its nuclear cooperation with Iran, it has also urged Tehran to stop uranium conversion and cooperate with the international community to assuage concerns about its nuclear programme.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.