Sun, Jun 20, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Iran pulls out of EU uranium deal, says it will enrich again


Iran proclaimed yesterday that it was no longer committed to the agreements made last October with the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany and would resume uranium enrichment.

"We made an agreement with the European Union trio last October in Tehran, which also included a temporary halt to uranium enrichment, but as the Europeans were not committed to the Tehran Declaration, therefore we also lift the temporary halt to uranium enrichment," Hassan Rowhani, Iran's chief negotiator on nuclear issues, told reporters.

Rowhani gave a press conference yesterday morning after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a resolution on Friday criticizing Iran for failing fully to disclose the extent of its nuclear program.

"Details on Iran's new uranium enrichment program will be announced in the coming days," said Rowhani, who is also secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.

"We do not pay much attention to the new resolution as the whole issue has once again been politicized with the final aim to deprive Iran of peaceful nuclear technology," he said.

He blamed the IAEA for poisoning the atmosphere in Vienna against Iran with false information, referring to IAEA charges that Iran had not informed the IAEA about its importation of 150 magnets for gas centrifuges used in uranium enrichment.

The IAEA later admitted that its initial claim about the importation of magnets was not correct and Iran in return demanded a change to the critical resolution.

"We however continue cooperation with the IAEA but stress settling the dispute over Iran's nuclear program at the earliest term and without politicization," said Rowhani, who is also a potential candidate to succeed Iranian President Mohammad Khatami next year.

Rowhani also said Iran would not withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran had even agreed on further IAEA inspections in Arak and Isfahan in central Iran, where a heavy water reactor is planned and where nuclear pollution had been reported by the inspectors, he said.

"The new resolution has not created any new commitment for Iran and there will also be no halt to the heavy water reactor plan in Isfahan," he said, referring to an earlier demand by the EU trio.

The cleric reiterated that, contrary to US claims, Iran had no secret plans for nuclear weapons, adding "the IAEA acknowledgement of this fact has left only a few pages left from the rather very thick Iranian nuclear file at the beginning."

The IAEA unanimously passed a resolution on Friday criticizing Iran for failing to fully disclose the extent of its nuclear program.

International investigators from the Vienna-based UN watchdog had been given contradictory and incomplete information, the agency said.

The strongly worded resolution is a stinging rebuke to Tehran but stops short of threatening Iran with UN Security Council sanctions.

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