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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/9/2005 5:45:52 AM EDT

Iran restarts its nuclear activities
By Seth Rosen
Published August 9, 2005
Iran resumed uranium-conversion activities at its Isfahan nuclear facility yesterday, breaching an agreement with European countries in an action that Western nations have said could lead them to seek U.N. sanctions against Tehran.
The United States will consult with its European allies before deciding whether to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington.
Mr. Ereli also said the department might break with precedent by denying a visa for newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend the U.N. General Assembly session in New York next month.
Iran yesterday resumed the first stage of processing raw uranium -- known as yellowcake -- into nuclear fuel at its nuclear plant in central Iran, breaking a suspension agreement signed in November with European Union members Britain, France and Germany.
"This is Iran thumbing its nose at a productive approach by the EU-3, and we'll have to work together to take a response," Mr. Ereli said.
Iranian officials earlier rejected as "unacceptable" a European package of incentives meant to cajole the country into abandoning its nuclear program and ending the standoff.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N. nuclear watchdog, will discuss the action at an emergency meeting in Vienna, Austria, today. Agence France-Presse reported that the IAEA would likely issue an ultimatum demanding a suspension of Iran's nuclear-fuel work.
"It is clear that Iran is in default of its obligations to the IAEA, and there is a legal basis for taking action against Iran," said Gary Milhollin, the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control in Washington. "The question is whether there is the political will."
Iran insists that it has the right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue nuclear technology for energy purposes, while Washington suspects that Iran is clandestinely attempting to construct nuclear weapons.
Analysts predicted that the Bush administration will use the latest Iranian malfeasance as proof that the new hard-line government cannot be trusted and press Europeans to seek U.N. sanctions as the only recourse.
The State Department's "strategy will be to fuel the indignation of the Europeans who have worked with Iranians for years and just got a stick in their eye," said Jon Alterman, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Middle East Program.
But the State Department understands that it must be circumspect in its criticism, said George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, because if "they play real hardball and are vocal, that will strengthen the hard-liners in Iran and inspire the nationalists."
The decision to resume uranium processing came days after the ultranationalist Mr. Ahmadinejad, who assumed the presidency last week, named a like-minded hard-liner to replace his country's chief nuclear negotiator.
Ali Larijani, who has been an outspoken proponent of Iran's nuclear ambition, will take over from Hassan Rowhani, introducing a note of uncertainly to future negotiations.
Mr. Ahmadinejad "wants to distinguish himself and send a signal to the people who elected him that he won't let the country be pushed around," said Mr. Alterman.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has been accused of participating in the 1979 hostage seizure at the American Embassy in Tehran, has applied for a U.S. visa to attend the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in September.
Asked whether an ongoing investigation into Mr. Ahmadinejad's role in the hostage-taking would affect the visa application, Mr. Ereli said, "It's obviously something that is relevant to the decision being made."
A U.N. official said the host country has never denied a visa to a head of state or government seeking to visit the world body.

Link Posted: 8/9/2005 5:48:47 AM EDT
Old news, but interesting news. Things are gonna get real interesting in the next few months/years.
Link Posted: 8/9/2005 6:02:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By w4klr:
Old news, but interesting news. Things are gonna get real interesting in the next few months/years.

If its old, I haven't heard about it. The aritcle is dated today and it says they restarted yesterday (8/8/05).
Link Posted: 8/9/2005 6:10:38 AM EDT

Iran sets off diplomatic scramble
Michael Adler | Vienna, Austria
09 August 2005 02:45
Amid intense diplomacy, Britain, France and Germany circulated a draft resolution on Tuesday, ahead of a key meeting of the United Nations atomic watchdog, urging Iran to stop nuclear fuel work that has raised concerns of a possible weapons programme.

But diplomats said the tactic is running into opposition from non-aligned and other states that warned that cracking down on Iran could isolate it, as with North Korea.

They said the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), due to meet at 3pm GMT, is backing away from referring Iran to the UN Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

It follows Iran resuming nuclear fuel-cycle work that it had suspended in line with a deal with European Union negotiators Britain, France and Germany.

The United States, which claims the work is a front for developing nuclear weapons -- a charge Tehran strongly denies -- and the so-called EU-3 appeared to be having problems on Tuesday winning a consensus for a resolution condemning Iran, despite French Minister of Foreign Affairs Philippe Douste-Blazy having called the situation a "grave crisis".

He said French officials had received a letter from Tehran rejecting a package of EU incentives offered in exchange for Iran continuing to suspend nuclear work.

Iran says it has the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a position supported by IAEA board members, such as Brazil, which have their own nuclear programmes.

Iranian Defence Minister Ali Skamkhani said Tehran will "resist" mounting international pressure and is unworried about threats of UN Security Council intervention.

A diplomat from one of the EU-3 states said they are circulating a draft resolution "that calls on the Iranians to stop activities in Isfahan", where the Iranians resumed uranium-conversion work suspended last November.

The resolution does not mention the harsher measure of taking Iran before the Security Council, said the diplomat, who asked not to be named.

"At this stage, options should be kept open," the diplomat added, saying the Iranians have only started on the first stage of conversion, itself a first step in enriching uranium into what can be fuel for nuclear power reactors but also the explosive core of atom bombs.

"We want to get a unified response from the board of governors," the diplomat said.

The EU must win support for a resolution condemning Iran from board members Russia -- which is building Iran's first nuclear power plant -- and China, a big client for Iranian oil.

A diplomat close to the IAEA said China, Russia and South Africa are working on a proposal that would allow Iran to do conversion work, with the uranium gas made from this process given to another country to distil into enriched uranium.

The Iranians seem to have won a political victory by ending the suspension and limiting the diplomatic reaction, diplomats said.

"The idea was to stop the Iranians from doing something but they've already done it and so the board is stymied," a Western diplomat said.

The diplomat described Tuesday's IAEA board meeting as "the beginning of a process" rather than the international community's definitive response to the Iranians, who have been under investigation for almost two years for failing to declare sensitive nuclear activities.

The board, whose meeting was delayed from the morning to the mid-afternoon in order to allow time for closed-door negotiations, had been expected to meet for one day but will now continue at least until Wednesday, diplomats said.

"While the Europeans would like to get a resolution, some don't think they will. The best they will get will be a simple statement from the chairman of the board," a Western diplomat said.

"The threat [of referral] is being held for a second meeting," a diplomat close to the IAEA said on Monday.

But another said the EU-3, the United States, Canada and Australia are discussing among themselves imposing economic measures against Iran, beyond a US embargo already in place, if the IAEA board fails to act. -- Sapa-AFP

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