Monday, February 20, 2006

Tehran to Pursue Research Despite Russian Plan

Gareth Smyth, The Financial Times:
Tehran vowed on Monday to pursue nuclear research even as Iranian negotiators met in Moscow to discuss a Russian proposal to outsource the country’s uranium enrichment - the process that can create weapons grade material. Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian foreign minister said “If we reach some compromise... (on the Russian proposal), we continue our preparation from where we are now. That is, the research department will continue its activity. ” READ MORE

This month, the International Atomic Energy Agency, voted to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council after Tehran said it would resume uranium enrichment for the purposes of research. Iran insists its nuclear programme is purely peaceful, but western diplomats suspect it of seeking to develop nuclear weapons capability.

Mr Mottaki’s statement overshadows talks that began on Monday in Brussels and Moscow and will add to the suspicions over Tehran’s talk of any compromise.

When Javed Vaeedi, deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), last month called informal talks with the European Union “very positive”, the English-language Iran Daily dismissed his claim as “simply inaccurate”.

After the EU and Russia supported the IAEA’s February 4 decision to report Iran to the Security Council, the newspaper argued that the fruits of Iran’s diplomacy were that “the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany have converged on a position long advocated by the United States.”