Monday, August 01, 2005

Iran Gets Cocky With Nuclear Programme

Iran has warned that it will resume some nuclear activities on Monday, unless the European Union submits its proposals to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme. The country claims European nations agreed to August 1 as a deadline for presenting a package of economic and political incentives to encourage Iran to indefinitely suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear fuel reprocessing and related nuclear activities. Iran, which suspended all uranium conversion and enrichment activities in November 2004 following international pressure, said it would resume limited uranium conversion if the EU did not produce proposals by 12:30GMT. "If we do not receive the EU proposal today, tomorrow morning we will start part of activities in Isfahan's uranium conversion facility," said Ali Aghamohammadi, spokesman for the Supreme National Security Council. Speaking to state television, Mr Aghamohammadi stressed that the plans to resume processing uranium ore into gas at the plant were technically not part of the uranium enrichment process and said the work would be carried out under the supervision of UN inspectors. He added that Iran intended to continue talks with the EU. There has been no reaction to Tehran’s threatened intention to resume uranium conversion, but diplomats representing France, Germany and the UK, which speak for the EU on the matter, said they were unaware they had agreed to the August 1 deadline and had simply proposed to submit their proposals in late July or August. The EU has threatened to back calls by the United States to report Iran to the UN Security Council, which could impose sanctions if the Islamic republic resumes nuclear activity. The US and the EU suspect Iran's nuclear programme may be a cover for efforts to build a nuclear bomb, but Tehran insists that it only wants to harness nuclear power to generate electricity. Iran’s new president, former Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has indicated that he wants to continue the country’s nuclear programme.