Friday, June 23, 2006

Iran Says No Nuclear Suspension Even After Talks

Yahoo News:
Iran is not considering a halt to its nuclear fuel program even after any negotiations with major powers, a senior Iranian official said on Friday. The Iranian Embassy in Vienna said Tehran's deputy nuclear negotiator had been misquoted in a German translation of a speech he gave on Thursday that raised the possibility of Iran stopping uranium enrichment as a result of negotiations. READ MORE

"Iran considers a suspension of uranium enrichment neither as a precondition for talks nor as a result of such talks," Javad Vaeedi told an Austrian think-tank, according to a corrected text of his speech provided by the embassy.

"And in this framework (Iran) considers the continuation of talks without any precondition as the only peaceful solution to the issue to remove Iran and the EU3's concerns," he said, referring to Britain, France and Germany.

A German-language text from the embassy distributed after the speech mistranslated Vaeedi to say: "Iran considers a suspension of uranium enrichment not as a precondition for talks, rather in the best case as a result of talks."

An embassy spokesman said: "The translation error was ours." No English text was provided and a running oral translation of the speech was drowned out by applause at the pro-Iranian think tank. Iranian officials were not available after the address.

Vaeedi also said Iran was taking its time to reply to an unprecedented offer from six major powers of economic incentives to halt nuclear work in order "to maximize the chances of success of this proposal."

Tehran has said it will reply by August 22. The six big powers want an answer by mid-July.

Iran says it wants to enrich uranium only to the low level needed to generate electricity.

Western powers suspect Iran seeks highly enriched uranium for nuclear warheads and asks why it needs atomic energy when it boasts the world's second largest oil and gas reserves.