Monday, February 14, 2005

Iran Says 'No' to Europeans

The Associated Press:
Iran rejected a European demand to stop building a heavy water nuclear reactor yesterday, hardening its position on a key issue that critics claim is part of a weapons program. Iran has given indications in the past that it will insist on keeping its heavy water nuclear reactor, but yesterday's announcement is its clearest statement yet of its nuclear plans. ...

Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also said Iran plans to become a major nuclear fuel supplier in 15 years, part of a program that Iran says is for peaceful energy purposes.

"We intend to turn into an important and a major player in the nuclear fuel supply market in the next 15 years because there will be (an) energy shortage in the future," Asefi said.

He rejected a proposal by European negotiators to stop building a 40-megawatt heavy water nuclear reactor near Arak, in central Iran, in return for a light-water reactor.

"We welcome the European offer ... but this won't replace the heavy water research reactor at all. That will continue. We will pursue that," he said.