Iran says it’s set to resume nuclear work
Talks over future of nuclear program fail to reach agreement

Updated: 5:11 a.m. ET April 30, 2005

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran may decide to resume some sensitive nuclear fuel work next week after it failed to reach an agreement with the European Union over the future of its disputed nuclear program, Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator said on Saturday.

The move sets up a summer crisis in Iran’s long-running nuclear dispute with the West and is likely to lead to heightened U.S. pressure to send its case to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanction.

“Iran will decide whether to resume its uranium enrichment program this week in Tehran,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Hassan Rohani as saying.

“Iran is unlikely to start enriching uranium at Natanz, but some activities might be resumed next week at Isfahan’s Uranium Conversion Facility complex," he said.

Iran froze all uranium fuel work, including activities at Isfahan and Natanz, last November as part of an agreement with the European Union’s big three powers Britain, Germany and France.

The EU trio and Iran failed to reach a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear program at new talks in London on Friday night but agreed to continue the negotiations at a later date.

The EU trio has warned Tehran it will back U.S. calls for Iran’s nuclear case to be sent to the Security Council.

By stopping short of resuming the actual enrichment of uranium, a process that can be used to make bomb grade fuel, Iran hopes to avoid such a showdown, a senior EU diplomat in Tehran said.

“They’re calculating that just resuming work at Isfahan will be enough to show its strength and anger to us but not enough for us to send its case to the Security Council,” he said.

The Isfahan facility is designed to convert raw uranium into a gas which can be injected into centrifuges at Natanz for enrichment.

Iran denies accusations that it is seeking nuclear arms and says it only plans to use nuclear technology to generate electricity.

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