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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:27, September 19, 2005
Iran warns IAEA over nuclear file
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Iran on Sunday warned of radicalization of atmosphere in a standoff over its nuclear file, if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, refers the issue to the UN Security Council.

"We urge the IAEA not to take the radical and unilateral action; otherwise the atmosphere will become radical," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a weekly news briefing.

Asefi's warning came just one day ahead of the IAEA Board of Governors' meeting. The European Union (EU) has pressed Iran to re- suspend its uranium conversion activities before the meeting, saying that defying the deadline would prompt the agency to refer Iran's case to the Security Council.

The spokesman said Tehran will make decisions according to the result of the IAEA meeting, stressing that Iran will never give in under threat and pressure.

He called on the EU and the IAEA to deal with Iran's nuclear case with a logic attitude.

"We hope that Monday's IAEA meeting will be positive and helpful to the future negotiations. However, if it turns to the other side, we will make decisions accordingly," Asefi said.

"The agency should not expect Iran to do anything other than the commitments ordained in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," he added.

However, Asefi declined to connect his warning with the resumption of uranium enrichment activities at facilities in the central city of Natanz, which had been advocated and hinted by some top Iranian officials for weeks.

Uranium conversion is the process of turning uranium ore nicknamed "yellowcake" to uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6); UF6 can be fed into arrayed centrifuges to yield enriched uranium, the material that can be used to generate electricity as well as build nuclear weapons.

Tehran resumed conversion activities on Aug. 8 and rejected a comprehensive nuclear proposal submitted by the EU, but enrichment activities in Natanz have remained frozen so far.

"The restart of Natanz facilities is not on the agenda for now, " Asefi said.

Ali Aqamohammadi, spokesman of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, which is responsible for nuclear negotiations, said on Saturday that Iran would restart enrichment facilities in Natanz if the negotiations turn against Iran's expectations.

"We agree to hold talks based on a reasonable schedule. However, if the process of nuclear negotiations is disrupted, obviously Iran will resume atomic activities at Natanz (nuclear facilities), " Aqamohammadi said.

Aqamohammadi said a nuclear proposal Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajed was set to present would "eliminate any suspicions about Iran's intention to produce nuclear weapons."

Hours after Aqamohammadi's remarks, Ahmadinajed presented new initiatives to solve the Iranian nuclear issue when he addressed the UN General Assembly in the UN Headquarters in New York.

Ahmadinajed announced that as a new confidence-building measure, Iran is ready to involve foreign companies in its uranium enrichment program.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinajed vowed not to give up efforts to build the nuclear fuel cycle, from which the EU, the longtime broker of Iran's nuclear case, has been endeavoring to dissuade Iran.

The Europeans believe that Tehran can provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is fully peaceful after it abandons all work related to building the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium conversion and enrichment.

The United States accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the disguise of civil usage, a charge rejected by Tehran.

Source: Xinhua

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