Monday, October 18, 2004

Reuters.com: Iran Ready to Negotiate Enrichment Halt Length

International News Article | Reuters.com: "Iran Ready to Negotiate Enrichment Halt Length

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Iran said on Monday it was willing to negotiate with European nations the length of its uranium enrichment suspension but will never renounce its right to carry out the process, which can be used to make atom bombs.
"If they (the EU trio) want to negotiate about tactics such as how long Iran will suspend uranium enrichment for, then these are negotiable," Hassan Rohani, secretary general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told state television.

"But if the issue is to stop Iran from pursuing its right, our representatives are not even allowed to have talks about these issues with anyone," Rohani said.

The European Union's top three powers Britain, Germany and France are expected to present a proposal to Iran this week aimed at convincing the Islamic state to give up its pursuit of uranium enrichment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned Tehran it could be reported to the United Nations Security Council if it has failed to halt all enrichment activities by the time of the next IAEA board meeting on Nov. 25.

Washington says Iran's nuclear program is geared to producing nuclear weapons. Tehran says it wants to master the full nuclear fuel cycle to provide fuel for atomic reactors that generate electricity.

Although it is not enriching uranium at present, Iran has gone back on an earlier promise to the EU trio to halt related activities such as the manufacture and assembly of enrichment centrifuges.

Iran insists its suspension of enrichment is "temporary and voluntary." Rohani again said on Monday that the suspension would only be "for a short time."

"It is not acceptable for us for someone to tell us that it's okay for European countries or the United States to have the fuel cycle and nuclear power plants but that Iran cannot," Rohani said.

Rohani, Iran's chief negotiator on the nuclear issue, reiterated that Tehran believed its nuclear dossier at the IAEA should be closed.

"We have answered all the questions which the inspectors asked. We have nothing more to say," he said.

"If Iran's case is not closed in November it will harm the IAEA's reputation more than it will harm Iran because then the whole world would know that the IAEA is under pressure from some countries such as the United States.""

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