Thursday, November 25, 2004

Iran asking IAEA to exempt some centrifuges

IranMania News: "Iran asking IAEA to exempt some centrifuges

Thursday, November 25, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com
LONDON, Nov 25 (IranMania) - Iran is demanding the right to operate uranium enrichment equipment for research purposes, despite its recent agreement with the Europeans to freeze crucial nuclear activities, European and Iranian officials said Wednesday.

European officials swiftly rejected the demand, calling it a violation of the deal, according to The New York Times.

In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Iran declared its right to run about two dozen centrifuges, machines that can be used to enrich uranium, the officials said.

The demand struck diplomats as a symbolic, but important, last effort by Iran to assert its sovereign right to enrich uranium, which it contends it is doing only to produce fuel for generating electricity.

Under the terms of a deal hammered out with Britain, France and Germany, Tehran was to freeze all uranium enrichment programme from Monday, a move which is now being verified by the IAEA.

The Vienna IAEA talks will also decide whether Iran should be sent to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, as the United States wants, over its nuclear activities.

But a diplomat who covers the IAEA said the Iranians "are trying to convince the IAEA to leave several dozen of the centrifuges unsealed for R&D (research and development) purposes in addition to other equipment which has direct use for enrichment."

A Western diplomat said it would be "outrageous" if Iran at the last minute exempted some centrifuges, the machines used in enriching uranium, from the suspension.

"It is not acceptable to us," a European diplomat said.

The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors will Thursday hear a European draft resolution based on the suspension agreement and which finally won US backing.

Diplomats said Washington had taken a pragmatic decision to back the European draft, even though it falls short of demanding possible UN sanctions for Iran.

Washington is "just being pragmatic for once, recognizing that the EU3 (Britain, Germany, France) text is pretty good and that there are few good policy alternatives to joining consensus on it," a Western diplomat said.

The United States has for over a year been trying to get the IAEA board to take Iran before the Security Council, but non-aligned states, as well as the European trio and Russia and China, have opposed this, saying Iran must be given a chance to cooperate with a two-year-old IAEA investigation of its nuclear program.

The head of Iran's coservative parliament, Gholamali Haddad Adel warned Wednesday that deputies would press for a resumption of enrichment if the country comes under too much pressure at the IAEA meeting.

The EU has promised Iran a long-term deal, including increased trade and peaceful nuclear technology, if it maintains suspension of enrichment.

Enriched uranium, made by spinning uranium gas in what can be cascades of thousands of centrifuges, can serve as fuel for nuclear reactors or as the raw explosive material for atomic bombs.

IAEA's team of inspectors were Wednesday racing to seal some 1,000 centrifuges in Iran, spread in workshops in some three different locations, in time to verify the suspension for Thursday's board meeting.

A diplomat close to the IAEA said: "It is up to Iran to define what it wants the IAEA to do or not to do," since it is only monitoring the agreement reached with the EU."

The IAEA "will report on what it has reached" in terms of verification, the diplomat said.

The diplomat refused to say exactly what sort of research Iran wants to do with the centrifuges, but that this would probably be for testing and not actually to enrich uranium.

The IAEA would still be able to inspect any centrifuges left out of the suspension in order to verify that they were not being used to divert nuclear material, he said.

Under IAEA investigation since February 2003, Iran agreed in October 2003 to suspend the actual enrichment of uranium but continued support activities such as making centrifuges and converting yellowcake into uranium gas."

Iran Vows Not to Interfere in Iraqi Elections

Iran Vows Not to Interfere in Iraqi Elections: "Iran Vows Not to Interfere in Iraqi Elections

Hala Boncompagni
Agence France Presse, Arab News
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, 24 November 2004 — Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi pledged yesterday his country would not meddle in Iraq’s US-backed elections but was adamant that did not signal any warmer ties with Washington.

Kharrazi also dismissed the “ridiculous” accusation by US Secretary of State Colin Powell that his country was trying to adapt missiles to carry nuclear warheads.

The minister and Powell had sat next to each other at a dinner Monday on the sidelines of the international conference on Iraq which closed yesterday, but Kharrazi said this was not a sign of a thaw.

“It is true that last night we were on the same table but we did not discuss Iraq or other political matters. We did not discuss anything,” Kharrazi told a press conference.

“We do not believe the Americans are ready to engage with us in a sincere dialogue because a dialogue between nations has to be based on mutual respect and this is not the case,” he said. A State Department official said earlier that Powell and Kharrazi engaged in “polite dinner conversation,” which Kharazi described as “diplomatic niceties”, when pressed by reporters to say what went on when they broke bread together.

Kharrazi also dismissed fears by Arab Sunni Muslim governments that elections in Iraq could empower the Shi'i majority at the expense of its Sunni minority, bolstering the influence of Shi'i Iran.

“Iran will not interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs . It is up to the Iraqis themselves to choose their political system,” he said.

Iran, he insisted, wants the polls to be held on time on Jan. 30."

IranMania News

IranMania News: "
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Continued state role in ICCIM advocated

Thursday, November 25, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

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LONDON, Nov 25 (IranMania) - Iranian Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari said that the Khatami administration disagrees with the parliament's proposal to exclude the public sector from Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM), stressing that representatives of all economic sectors should be represented in the body, Iran Daily reported.

"It is not possible for us to create a chamber of commerce for the private sector, one for the cooperative sector and another one for the state sector," he said, adding that the private sector's share in the national economy should increase.

He said the government is planning to make provincial chambers of commerce independent of the ICCIM, adding, however, there would be some limitations on their international interactions once they become sovereign.

Mohammad Reza Behzadian, head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, told Mowj news agency on Tuesday that Iran is in pressing need of greater international economic interaction, adding that the government must not implicate the private sector in its international political equations.

Behzadian said chambers of commerce should not necessarily follow foreign policy patterns in their overseas economic interactions.

He had said earlier private companies will continue economic interaction with US partners irrespective of decisions made by ICCIM to the effect."

Daily Times - US funding anti-regime rebels: Iran

Daily Times - Site Edition: "US funding anti-regime rebels: Iran

TEHRAN: The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards on Thursday accused the United States of financing rebel groups fighting the Islamic regime and seeking to spark ethnic unrest along its borders, the state news agency IRNA reported. “With its presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is seeking to plot and create insecurity inside Iran and wants to encourage ethnic problems in our country,” General Yahya Rahim Safavi was quoted as telling a gathering of the Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer wing, the Basij militia. “In Iraq, the Americans have taken the hypocrites under their wings,” he said, referring to the exiled armed opposition group the People’s Mujahedeen. He alleged the United States was also supporting “counter-revolutionary groups” including the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran and the Komala, a Kurdish-Maoist group. The United States, he said, “is giving them money to create insecurity in Iran.” “In Afghanistan, the Americans have brought together Iranian rebels to create insecurity in Sistan-Baluchestan,” Iran’s far southeastern province, the general told the gathering. “But the Americans should know that they will carry all hope of dominating Iran and causing insecurity in Iran to their graves,” Safavi added. afp"