Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Iran Threatens to Resume Enrichment

Ali Akbar Dareini, The Associated Press:
Iran threatened Tuesday to resume uranium enrichment and block U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities unless the U.N. nuclear agency retracted its moves to refer the country to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters Iran was giving a "serious warning" to its European negotiating partners and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

The IAEA passed a resolution on the weekend that put Iran on the verge of referral to the Security Council unless Tehran eases suspicions about its nuclear activities. The resolution told Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities, to abandon construction of a heavy water nuclear reactor, and to grant access to certain research and development locations and documentation.

Iran has rejected the resolution, protesting it was politically motivated and without legal foundation.

Asefi said Tuesday that Iran was asking the Europeans _ Britain, France and Germany _ and the IAEA for two things:

"First, they should not insist (on the terms of the resolution). Second, they should correct it. If the other parties' reaction is not along these lines, the Islamic Republic of Iran will take these measures," Asefi said. READ MORE

He said Iran would cease to abide by the "voluntary measures" that it has been implementing as an expression of good will.

Effectively, this means that Iran would resume enrichment of uranium, which is currently suspended, and disregard the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty under which it grants IAEA inspectors the right to unfettered inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Iran has signed the protocol but never ratified it.