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UPDATED: 08:14, May 09, 2005
Roundup: Iran raises new proposals on nuclear deadlock with EU
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Iran said Sunday that it was preparing a draft bill to ratify the Additional Protocol of the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as it was trying to press the European Union (EU) to accept its new proposals on the country's nuclear program.

"The Foreign Ministry has started preparing a draft bill on the ratification of the Additional Protocol, which will be presented to the state commission for scrutiny and then, if approved, to the Majlis (Parliament)," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters.

The Iranian government signed the Additional Protocol in December 2003 under increasing international pressure, but the Majlis has not approved the protocol so far.

Hardliners in the country, dissatisfied with the government's policy on the nuclear issue, repeatedly threatened to veto the Additional Protocol and withdraw from the NPT when the situation of Iran's nuclear issue went critical.

Tehran has recently announced that it decided to resume some uranium enrichment activities as the nuclear talks with the EU had been stranded.

Asefi also reaffirmed that Iran will resume some work on its nuclear fuel process but did not reveal when to start.

"The decision has been made and we are to restart some activities at the uranium conversion facility in Isfahan," Asefi said.

Iran, currently in talks with the European Union on its nuclear issue, suspended uranium enrichment last November, but claimed the suspension is a voluntary and revocable move.

"We remain committed to negotiations while starting some activities and voluntary suspension will extend," Asefi stressed.

The spokesman also touched on the latest proposals Iran presented to achieve what the EU called "objective guarantees" that Iran's nuclear activities will never be diverted to military purposes.

"Consolidated relations between the related sides, enrichment limits, legal channels including the NPT and the Additional Protocol and the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) supervision are the proposals Iran has given to the Europeans as objective guarantees," he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said on Saturday in New York that Iran had presented four new proposals in order to break the current deadlock in the nuclear negotiations.

The four suggestions are Iran's ratification of the Additional Protocol, the admission of permanent and comprehensive inspections of the IAEA, the resumption of restricted enrichment activities and fueling reactors under supervision, as well as trade agreements between Iran and the EU.

Asefi, on his part, called upon the Europeans to examine the proposals carefully and within the framework of the Paris Agreement reached between the two sides last November.

According to the Paris Agreement, Iran suspended all its uranium enrichment activities, which then opened the door to EU-Iran negotiations.

However, the two sides failed to reach further agreement on key issues such as "objective guarantees" as late as April 29 when they held the latest round of talks in London.

Iran has blamed the EU for the prolonged talks, insisting that compromise should not be one-sided.

Kicking the ball to the European court, Asefi said time was now ripe for the Europeans to make their decision.

"The negotiations with the Europeans have entered a new stage. Iran has presented its proposals and now it is the Europeans' turn to make their decision after close scrutiny," the spokesman underlined.

Source: Xinhua

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