Friday, November 12, 2004

Iran vows to resist unfair nuclear demands -

Iran vows to resist unfair nuclear demands -: "Iran vows to resist unfair nuclear demands
11/12/2004 12:30:00 PM GMT

"We can reach a solution if the Europeans do not make excessive demands," said Rafsanjani.

Iran vowed that it would "resist" unfair demands to suspend its nuclear program, as talks with the EU on resolving the nuclear stand-off faced new difficulties.

Speaking after Friday prayers, the senior advisor to Iran's supreme leader called for "resistance" and said that the Islamic republic was facing "idiotic and childish" calls.

The Europeans "have told us to stop our nuclear programme and in return they will sell us commercial jets and trains", Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri said. "This is an idiotic and childish thing.

"Fortunately, the opinion polls show that 75 to 80 percent of Iranians want to resist, and that we continue our programme and reject humiliation."

He also said that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final word on all matters of state, "has summed up our policy in one phrase -- if you (the Europeans) are reasonable, we will negotiate with you; if not, we have nothing to say to you.

"They tell us to suspend enrichment, but it is none of your business," said Nateq Nuri, stressing that fuel cycle work was allowed under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"Step by step"

Powerful former leader Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also said on Friday that the negotiations were still "moving forward step by step", but added that "on one or two points, we are still far away from getting what we want".

"I think that we can reach a solution and that we can reach an accord if the Europeans prove their wisdom and do not make excessive demands," said Rafsanjani, who now leads Iran's top political arbitration body.

Iran was this week expected to respond to demands that it freezes its uranium enrichment in order to avoid being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The conditions of a provisional agreement were reached during two days of tough negotiations in Paris last week. Talks were also held in Iran Thursday and Friday, but sources familiar with the negotiations said that a final deal hadn’t been reached yet. "It requires a big effort from both sides," the source said.

Britain, France and Germany are trying to convince Iran to suspend all activities related to the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment, to ease international pressure over what the U.S. alleges is a secret weapons program.

In return, Europe's three major states are offering Iran civilian nuclear technology, increased trade and help with Tehran's regional security issues.

The IAEA delays report on Iran

Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been investigating Iran’s nuclear program for almost two years, has held up a new report on Iran's nuclear program.

The IAEA has told Tehran that it must respond this week to the European offer if it wants the agency’s position included in a report ahead of an IAEA meeting in Vienna on November 25.

This meeting will determine whether Iran has satisfied the IAEA. If the report is negative, Tehran’s nuclear file could be sent to the UN Security Council; something the U.S. had called for.

The IAEA had originally wanted to submit the new report by Friday, but diplomats said this was unlikely. Many diplomats said that they suspected the IAEA has postponed previous reports to give Iran time to provide late information.

"I know for a fact that the people responsible for the report had all they have to say (ready) a few days ago," a Western diplomat in Vienna said. He added that what was missing was a paragraph saying that Iran had agreed to halt its uranium enrichment program as demanded by an IAEA resolution adopted in September."