Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tehran Wants Nuke Facility in Iran

FOX News:
Iran has proposed setting up a nuclear fuel production facility within its borders with international help, the Iranian Embassy said Tuesday, days before the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany meet to discuss Tehran's suspect program.

The new proposal is an alternative to Russia's offer to host Iran's nuclear fuel production as a way to ease concerns that enrichment conducted in Iran could be used to develop weapons. Iran maintains its atomic program is for generating electricity. READ MORE

Russia said its enrichment offer was contingent on Iran resuming a moratorium on domestic enrichment, but the Iranians rejected that link.

"In terms of satisfying its needs, Tehran cannot remain dependent on international suppliers," the Iranian government said in the statement.

"Iran would welcome the creation of an international nuclear fuel center on its territory with the participation of other countries and in the framework of an international consortium."

Iran also reiterated that Security Council intervention in the dispute would "escalate tensions, entailing negative consequences that would be of benefit to no party."

The statement came as top diplomats from the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia scheduled a Thursday meeting in Berlin.

Talks at the United Nations have stalled, with Russia and China wary of the tough language America, Britain and France are pushing to include in a draft statement on Tehran's nuclear activities. That language includes a demand that Iran stop uranium enrichment, a key process that can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead.

The Security Council has the power to impose economic and political sanctions.

Russia and China are demanding that any statement reinforce the primacy of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in confronting Iran.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday his nation's offer to host Iranian enrichment remains on the table, but "Iran should say unambiguously whether it is planning to accept or reject the offer in order to allay the international community's concerns," the Interfax news agency reported.

Britain, France and Germany broke off more than two years of talks with Iran in January, saying there was no point in continuing to negotiate after Tehran said it would restart enrichment.