Monday, February 28, 2005

EU Must Compromise on Nuke Issues, Says Iran Official

Louis Charbonneau, Reuters:
The European Union must be prepared to reach a compromise with Tehran that will keep Iran's nuclear enrichment program in place, a senior Iranian official says.

Washington says Tehran must accept a deal being offered by the EU or be referred to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

Under the proposed deal, Iran would scrap work like fuel enrichment that could potentially be related to weapons production in return for trade deals and other incentives.

But Sirus Naseri, Tehran's delegate at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) starting on Monday, said Iran would never give up its enrichment program.

He said the EU must be prepared to compromise on this.

"Otherwise they will have to opt for a confrontation, as the U.S. seems to prefer, which would lead to an uncertain situation with unforeseeable consequences for everyone," Naseri told Reuters. "I think the Europeans will opt for reason." ...

A U.S. threat to renew its drive to refer Iran to the Security Council in June if it rejects EU demands -- outlined in a confidential draft U.S. position paper seen by Reuters -- would effectively end the EU plan.

Avoiding the U.N. council is a key element of an EU-Iran agreement signed in Paris last year. Iran's nuclear planners scored a major victory on Sunday when they signed a supply fuel deal with Russia long opposed by Washington, paving the way for a start up of Iran's first atomic power plant next year.


Naseri said both Washington and the EU should get used to the idea of a nuclear-powered Iran.

"Some of the wiser American strategists like (Zbigniew) Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger have suggested that the U.S. simply has to get used to the idea of an Iran with nuclear capability," he said. ...