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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:50, September 05, 2005
Roundup: Iran rejects EU referral warning
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Iran on Sunday rejected an EU warning that the Iranian nuclear case will be referred to the UN Security Council, if Tehran did not stop resumed sensitive nuclear activities in two weeks.

"We will never retreat on the uranium conversion in Isfahan, which has been an issue of the past," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters.

The EU, the longtime broker of the Iranian nuclear issue, on Saturday strongly urged Iran to re-suspend the conversion activities in the central city Isfahan, which Tehran has resumed since Aug. 8 due to its dissatisfaction with the EU's objection to its nuclear fuel cycle ambition.

The EU has reset the deadline of Sept. 19, the date when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will hold a Board of Governors' meeting.

Iran had defied a previous EU call to halt the conversion activities before IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei submitted a comprehensive report on Tehran's nuclear program to the agency's Board of Governors on Sept. 3.

The report, revealed on Friday, criticized Iran for failing to keep suspension on enrichment-related activities, defined Tehran's cooperation with the agency as "overdue" and voiced regret about Iran's disallowance of an IAEA request to inspect some of its military sites suspected of dealing with sensitive nuclear program.

The report also said that Iran had produced nearly 7,000 kg of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a product of the conversion which can be fed into centrifuges to yield enriched uranium. Enriched uranium can be used for generating electricity as well as building nuclear bombs.

On the other hand, the report supported Tehran's allegation on the source of weapons-grade uranium contamination found by the agency in central Iran in 2003 that the uranium trace had been left by equipments imported from Pakistan.

As to the report, Asefi said it provided no basis for the EU's referral threat and criticized it for including ambiguous words.

"The report lacks coherence and integration. There is not any grounds in it for referring Iran's case to the UN Security Council, and what the EU has picked up to support the referral are just some minor issues," Asefi said.

He said Iran will continue to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog and negotiate with the EU as well as other countries, expressing hope that the Iranian nuclear case will be discussed at a coming IAEA gathering "in a technical and legal condition" free from political influences.

Meanwhile, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani echoed Asefi's remarks by telling state television that the EU will make a mistake if it will seek to refer Iran's case to the Security Council.

"They will make a mistake if they want to press the Iranian nation with the threat of referral. The means of bullying will have no effect on the great will of the Iranians," Larijani said.

However, Larijani voiced determination to solve the current nuclear standoff through dialogue with the international community.

"We will go on with the negotiations (with the EU), and at the same time we also think talks with other countries helpful," he said.

Tehran insists that its uranium enrichment program, a key step toward building nuclear fuel cycle reactor, be the legal right enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Source: Xinhua

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