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Iran Delays Resuming Nuclear Work Again

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 6:57 pm    Post subject: Iran Delays Resuming Nuclear Work Again Reply with quote

Iran Delays Resuming Nuclear Work Again

Iran announced today it would postpone resuming uranium conversion, backing down from threats to break seals on equipment at Isfahan today, Reuters reported (see GSN, Aug. 2).

“We hope to restart work by the beginning of next week when preparations are complete,” said top Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani (Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, Aug. 3).

The plant would convert uranium ore into gas, which could then be enriched into fuel for nuclear power stations or weapons development, according to Reuters.

The International Atomic Energy Agency had earlier today made an appeal that Tehran delay the work at least a week so that its inspectors could be in place to monitor the activity.

“We need until the middle of next week to get our surveillance equipment in place before any seals could be cut and nuclear activities started,” the agency said in a statement.

“The agency calls on Iran again not to start any activities in Isfahan before the IAEA inspection system is in place,” it said (Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, Aug. 3).

British, French and German foreign ministers and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana yesterday sent a letter of warning to Rohani, the London Times reported.

“Were Iran to resume currently suspended activities, our negotiations would be brought to an end, and we would have no option but to pursue other courses of action,” the letter says.

Tehran, however, insisted there was no turning back on the decision.

“The decision has been taken. Work has begun,” said President Mohammad Khatami said on his final day in office (Richard Beeston, The Times, Aug. 3).

Rohani said today he had responded in a letter to the European Union, complaining of its “unacceptable threats.”

He reiterated that he would likely step down from his post under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took office today, but added that there would be continuity in Tehran’s nuclear policy (Hafezi, Reuters, Aug. 3).

In his first official address as president, Ahmadinejad said he would work to eliminate weapons of mass destruction around the world, Agence France-Presse reported.

“I will plead for the suppression of all weapons of mass destruction,” said Ahmadinejad (Agence France-Presse/SpaceWar.com, Aug. 3).

Elsewhere, China today urged Iran and the European Union to continue their diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff, AFP reported.

“China supports continued diplomatic efforts to properly settle the Iran nuclear issue within the International Atomic Energy Agency framework at an early date,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan (Agence France-Presse/Khaleej Times, Aug. 3).

The United States should guarantee that it does not seek regime change in Iran if it wants to halt Tehran’s nuclear program, former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said yesterday.

“The most important factor would be to guarantee the Iranians that their territorial integrity” would not be violated, Blix told the Associated Press.

“For Iran, which feels subjected to American pressure, to refrain from [uranium] enrichment, they probably want some kind of declaration that they are not subjected to any risks — either an attack across the border or via cruise missiles, or that the CIA or someone else tries any subversive measures to change the regime,” said Blix (Mattias Karen, Associated Press/Santa Fe New Mexican, Aug. 2).
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