Iran not to end uranium enrichment despite a trade proposed by EU

Publish date: October 28, 2004

Iran yesterday stepped up its confrontation with European countries as its Supreme Leader threatened to break off negotiations over its suspect nuclear weapons programme.

Senior officials from Britain, France and Germany yesterday held negotiations in Vienna with an Iranian delegation to persuade Iran into indefinitely suspending uranium enrichment ahead of a deadline in one month.

The EU countries are warning that Iran must comply with the demand in time for the next governors’ meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on 25 November or face being referred to the UN Security Council for punishment. The Europeans are offering Iran incentives — a trade deal and peaceful nuclear technology, including a light-water research reactor — in return for a halt in enrichment, which can produce fuel for both nuclear energy and atomic weapons.

In talks yesterday, Iran’s delegates insisted on the right to enrich uranium. And supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in all issues in Iran, ruled out any long-term suspension of the program, calling it “a discussion without logic.” “If there is any form of threat in the talks, it will show a lack of logic on the part of [Iran’s] partners in the negotiations,” he said, according to state-run television in Tehran. “In that case, the great Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic of Iran will reconsider the very basis of negotiations and cooperation.” Sirus Naseri, an Iranian delegate at the talks in Vienna, said “total suspension will not be accepted under any circumstances.”

Finally, Russian specialists are also getting worried about the Iranian enrichment activities. On October 7, Alexander Nyago, the president of the Russian Corporation TVEL, the only nuclear fuel producer in Russia, said to ITAR-TASS, that any country has the right to produce its own nuclear fuel, but it should begin with complex establishment of the high technologies, not only with uranium enrichment. He mentioned, however, that after signing the agreement about spent nuclear fuel return the TVEL corporation would produce and deliver nuclear fuel to the Iranian NPP in accordance with the contract between Russia and Iran.