Monday, November 07, 2005

Iran Asks European Nations To Resume Nuclear Talks

The Wall Street Journal:
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Sunday called for a renewal of nuclear negotiations with France, the United Kingdom and Germany, the state-run news agency reported.

In letters to the foreign ministers of the European nations, Ali Larijani asked for "constructive and logical negotiations in the framework of respective conventions and regulations of International Atomic Energy Agency." READ MORE

The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the letters had been delivered to the nations' ambassadors in Tehran.

Two years of on-and-off negotiations over ending disputed portions of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for economic incentives collapsed in August after Iran resumed uranium conversion, a precursor to enriching it for use either to generate energy or produce nuclear weapons.

Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, says its nuclear program aims to make electricity. The U.S. believes Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, and is pressing for Tehran to be referred to the United Nations Security Council, where it could face sanctions for alleged violations to the NPT.

Separately, U.N. nuclear inspectors were granted access to a high-security military site and were permitted to meet senior personnel at the facility, an Iranian official said Sunday.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi that Tehran supports Iraq's territorial integrity and believes a powerful government in Baghdad is in Iran's interests. He also called for expediting the construction of an oil pipeline and railway between the once-bitter foes.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the U.N. inspectors were allowed to visit the Parchin military site about 20 miles southeast of Tehran after they arrived in Iran on Oct. 28 for a weeklong visit. U.S. officials claim the facility may be part of Iran's nuclear arms research program.

Iran denies claims that its nuclear program is aimed at building nuclear weapons.

The visit followed repeated efforts by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to return to the site after a previous inspection in January. Inspectors wanted to conduct further checks of radioactivity in buildings and areas within the sprawling military complex.

If the samples taken from objects in Parchin reveal minute amounts of radioactivity, it would strengthen suspicions of nuclear-related work at the site, which is run by the Iranian armed forces. The January visit revealed no such traces.

"This time they asked to visit other areas of the site," Mr. Asefi told reporters during a news conference. "They talked with our friends this time. What they have done in Iran has been in the framework of the NPT."

With the next IAEA board meeting only weeks away, Iran is under increasing pressure to show it is cooperating with a U.N. probe of its suspected nuclear weapons activities as it tries to derail a U.S.-backed European push to report it to the Security Council.

The IAEA thus far has found no firm evidence to challenge Iranian assertions that its military is not involved in nuclear activities.

Also Sunday, Mr. Ahmadinejad assured Iraq's deputy prime minister that it supports its territorial integrity and independence.

The U.S. has accused Iran of not doing enough to stop militants entering Iraq to wage attacks inside the war-ravaged country. Iran denies the claims.

Mr. Chalabi's visit to Iran is seen as a boost for Tehran, which has been the focus of international criticism after Ahmadinejad recently said Israel should be "wiped off the map." Earlier this week, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan canceled a planned trip to Iran over the remarks.
It was the Iranian government who ended the negotiations by restarting its nuclear program. They knowingly broke their promise to halt all uranium enrichment activities until the negotiations we complete. Now the Iranian government is attempting to make it appear the EU3 are the one unwilling to negotiate.