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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:16, September 19, 2005
Iran confronts IAEA with stick as well as carrots
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Iran, armed with both sticks and carrots, urged the UN nuclear watchdog on Sunday not to refer its case to the UN Security Council.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a weekly news briefing that the atmosphere of the Iranian nuclear case would " become radical" if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) " takes the radical and unilateral action" of referral.

Asefi's warning came just one day before IAEA's board of governors is to convene a meeting in Vienna, and the European Union (EU) has pressed Iran to re-suspend its uranium conversion activities before the meeting, saying a defiance would prompt the agency to refer Iran's case to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The spokesman said Tehran would make decisions according to the result of the IAEA meeting, stressing that Iran would never give in under threats and pressure and calling 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 future negotiations. However, if it turns to the other side, we will make decisions accordingly," Asefi said, stressing that Iran should not be expected to make commitments beyond what are ordained in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Uranium enrichment, as a key step toward construction of nuclear fuel cycle, is the legal right enshrined by the NPT for its signatories. Uranium conversion is the preparatory stage of the enrichment process.

Iran resumed its uranium conversion activities on Aug. 8 and scuttled the negotiations with the EU, but its enrichment activities have remained frozen so far.

Asefi ruled out links between his warning and a further resumption of the uranium enrichment activities at the facilities in the central city of Natanz, which had been advocated and hinted by some top Iranian officials for weeks.

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

Ali Aqamohammadi, spokesman of Iran's Supreme National Security Council responsible for nuclear negotiations, said on Saturday that Iran would restart the enrichment facilities in Natanz if the negotiations fall short of Iran's expectation.

"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 also said that the nuclear proposal Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajed presented would "eliminate any suspicions about Iran's intention to produce nuclear weapons".

Ahmadinajed presented his 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 was ready to involve foreign companies in its uranium enrichment program.

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

On Sunday, the president in person commented on his new proposal that the initiatives would provide "a good prospect" for the IAEA to keep Iran's case within the agency, condemning the referral attempt after the new initiatives as seeking pretexts to complicate the case.

"Iran's initiative had provided a good prospect for the UN nuclear watchdog and left no pretext for anybody...In case anyone intends to raise a pretext, they are just after seeking pretexts," he said upon his arrival in Tehran from New York.

Ahmadinejad stressed that foreign involvement in Iran's enrichment work was a special offer.

"That we permit the public and private sectors of other countries to be partners in Iran's nuclear program and put part of our nuclear energy shares at the disposal of others is a special point in Iran's initiative," the president said.

Source: Xinhua

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