Thursday, September 16, 2004

Daily Times - Iran losing ‘capacity for compromise’ on N-issue

Daily Times - Site Edition: "Iran losing ‘capacity for compromise’ on N-issue

* Rafsanjani says Iran’s aim is to achieve its rights

TEHRAN: Iran’s powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned on Thursday that the country’s willingness to compromise on its nuclear programme was under pressure from the hardening European stance.

“If they keep on behaving like this, it is obvious that our capacity to compromise will decrease and we will act more independently,” Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

He was referring to efforts by the three main European Union powers — Britain, France and Germany — to pass a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seeking to limit Iranan’s nuclear activities.

“Our aim is to achieve our rights,” Rafsanjani said, adding that “those who stand against us now will have to step back within a couple of months.”For the past year the EU’s so-called “big three” have been trying to convince Iran to give up dual-use activities in the nuclear fuel cycle. The process of mining uranium, converting and then enriching it is legal under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as long as it is for fuel for reactors.

But once mastered, the fuel cycle can also provide Iran with the “option” of developing a nuclear bomb. Iran denies accusations it is trying to develop such an arsenal and says it is determined to master the full cycle to provide its own fuel for a planned atomic energy programme.

Meanwhile, in Vienna the US-EU rift over a resolution on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons ambitions that has paralysed this week’s UN atomic agency meeting narrowed on Thursday and talks will continue until the weekend, diplomats on both sides told the news agency. “We are narrowing differences,” a European diplomat at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. “We are making progress, but you can’t say yet we’ll reach an accord by Thursday night, or even Friday,” he said.

The European diplomat said the European Union states “remain firm” in their refusal to bow to US wishes that the IAEA impose a tough ultimatum with an October 31 deadline requiring Tehran to allay concern that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons.

The negotiations are being pursued on the sidelines of the IAEA board of governor’s plenary session, which began on Monday and adjourned late Tuesday over the stalemate. The meeting is scheduled to resume early on Friday."


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