Iran rejects European nuclear proposal
Tehran rips offer, insists on its right to enrich uranium

(Gold9472: OF COURSE THEY DO. Why are they any different from Pakistan, or India, two counties that developed nuclear technology without the backing of the IAEA?)

Updated: 5:10 a.m. ET Aug. 6, 2005

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran on Saturday rejected Europe’s proposal for ending the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program, calling the package “unacceptable” and not up to Tehran’s “minimum expectations.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the government would send its official rejection to the Europeans later Saturday or Sunday.

“The European proposals are unacceptable ... the package is against the spirit of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and against the provisions of the Paris agreement,” he said on state radio. “The proposals do not meet Iran’s minimum expectations.”

On Friday, European diplomats had sought to entice Iran into a binding commitment not to build atomic arms by offering to provide fuel and other long-term support to help Iranians generate electricity with nuclear energy.

The Bush administration backed the offer, which came as a diplomatic effort to persuade North Korea into giving up its atomic weapons program stalled.

Iran insists on right to enrich uranium
Asefi said the primary reason for Iran’s rejection was the European failure to include Tehran’s right to enrich uranium. “We had already announced that any plan has to recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium,” he said.

The proposal came from Britain, France and Germany, which are representing the European Union. The three offered greater economic, political and security cooperation if Tehran agreed to the plan.

Iran in November signed the Paris Agreement, agreeing to continue suspension of uranium enrichment and all related activities including uranium conversion until negotiations proceed for a political settlement.

Iran has accused the Europeans of wasting time, saying that a continued suspension depended on progress in the talks. Tehran also has said that European failure to recognize Iran’s right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and failure to make progress in talks doesn’t prevent Iran from reopening the Isfahan uranium conversion facility.

The Europeans new proposal on Friday did not mention the previous agreement, which allowed Iran to enrich uranium.

Iran has long claimed its nuclear program is solely for the peaceful production of electricity, while Washington charges the real aim is to produce arms. The discovery of clandestine aspects of Iran’s program raised worries among other nations and pressure had mounted on Iran.

Emergency meeting
The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced it would hold an emergency meeting Tuesday to formally warn Iran not to resume uranium enrichment at its Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan. The IAEA board could refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for consideration of sanctions.

A summary of the EU proposal said the Europeans acknowledged Iran’s right to nuclear energy and promise to help it develop “a safe, economically viable and proliferation-proof civil nuclear power generation and research program.”

The 34-page proposal promised Iran a long-term supply of enriched uranium from other countries, on the condition spent fuel is returned. Iran also would be able to buy peaceful nuclear technology, opening the door to such deals as Russia’s $800 million contract to build a reactor in the southern Iranian port city of Bushehr and supply fuel.

In return, the Europeans called on Iran to make a “legally binding commitment not to withdraw” from the nuclear treaty, as North Korea did, and to agree to permit surprise inspections by the IAEA and abandon all uranium activities, including conversion, enrichment and reprocessing.

The EU nations also say Iran must “stop construction of its heavy water research reactor at Arak.” Nuclear experts consider heavy water reactors a danger because they use higher-grade plutonium suitable for weapons use. They say the reactor at the Iranian city of Arak can yield enough plutonium from spent fuel to make one atomic bomb a year.

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