Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Iran to resume nuclear work at Isfahan UCF

Tehran Times:
Iran will restart activities at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in the near future, Majlis Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Manuchehr Mottaki said here on Tuesday.

We will resume work at the UCF to the stage of producing UF6 and thus demonstrate to the world our strong resolve to make use of Iran’s legal right to master the complete nuclear fuel cycle,” Mottaki told the Mehr News Agency.

He noted that Iran does not intend to halt the process of nuclear negotiations with the European Union but believes that if the Europeans make a positive proposal they could open a new chapter in Iran-EU ties.

Asked whether he believed the EU had deliberately postponed announcing its new proposal until the Iranian presidential election was over, Mottaki said, “Iranian officials and nuclear negotiators have repeatedly announced that the nuclear issue is a macro policy and is not related to a certain figure or faction.

“Iran’s nuclear issue is a scientific matter, and the Iranian people as well as various political parties hold a common view on it. Therefore, Europe’s claims in this regard are not acceptable.”

Commenting on the five-month-old nuclear talks between Iran and the EU big three of Britain, Germany, and France, he noted that during the last round of talks the EU agreed to present a comprehensive plan on Iran’s nuclear program by early August.
“We have always held a positive view of the process of talks, since our approaches are completely defensible, and we believe that we have given Europe enough time to make the negotiations bear fruitful results.”

He stated that Iran expects the EU proposal to clarify its definite position on Iran’s right to access the nuclear fuel cycle.

“We can’t keep our nuclear technology and human forces waiting too long for Europe, since we have to update the technology,” Mottaki added.

He went on to say that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has put resumption of nuclear activities high on its agenda, adding that Iranian nuclear negotiators will soon notify Europe of this decision.

Meanwhile, Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Aladdin Borujerdi also announced on Tuesday that Iran would resume nuclear activities at the Isfahan UCF whether Europe agrees or not.

Emphasizing Iran’s right to master the complete nuclear fuel cycle, Borujerdi said that Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment was only meant as a confidence-building measure.

“Over the past one and a half years, Iran has taken great steps to clarify its nuclear activities and build confidence about the peaceful nature of its nuclear program,” he told the Mehr News Agency.

“Even the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammad ElBaradei, announced that most of the ambiguities surrounding Iran’s nuclear issue were resolved.

“So now it’s Europe’s turn to take the next step in recognizing Iran’s obvious right to continue its nuclear activities.”

Borujerdi said that Iran naturally expects Europe to acknowledge the country’s legal and international right to gain access to the complete nuclear fuel cycle.

“But if they fail to do so, Iran will resume the nuclear activities it has suspended, in view of the Majlis act that obliges the government to enrich uranium.”

The fact is that the EU three do not have a common view on Iran’s nuclear program, Borujerdi observed.

So, the reason for their delay in talks is not just the idea that Iran might change its nuclear policies with the establishment of the new government but also their own differences.”

He went on to say that Iran has logical reasons to restart activities at the UCF and would be obliged to implement the law and lift some of the suspensions if Europe delays the presentation of its proposal.

MP Hamid Reza Hajbabaii of the Majlis Presiding Board said on Tuesday that, after months of confidence-building measures, Iran has the right to resume suspended nuclear activities which are in line with its national interests.

The resumption of nuclear activities at the UCF would be a good response to Europe’s sluggish approach in offering incentives to Iran, Hajbabaii told the Mehr News Agency.

The MP said that Europe is totally aware that Iran’s nuclear policy will not be altered at all with the establishment of the new government.

Europe has promised to present its proposed plan by August 6, but intends to delay the talks yet again by proposing to wait for the formation of the new cabinet.” READ MORE

This is an opportunistic policy and the Islamic Republic must make Europe stand accountable on the agreed date, he stressed.

Asked whether a possible change in Iran’s team of nuclear negotiators could affect the process of talks, Hajbabaii said, “This is only a marginal issue. Iran’s nuclear policy is based on the will of the nation not certain people or groups.”

He also dismissed reports claiming that the members of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team would be changed as mere speculation and false.