Iran warns of break in nuclear talks, calls EU talks constructive
TEHRAN (AFP) Oct 27, 2004
Iran's supreme guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Wednesday that Tehran could break off nuclear talks with the international community if it insisted on a long-term suspension of uranium enrichment.
"I say to those negotiating with representatives of the Iranian people not to lead us to the conclusion, through unjust and illogical words, that they do not believe in negotiations based on logic, because in that case, the people and the Islamic regime will leave the negotiating table," he said.
"Long-term suspension of enrichment is an illogical demand," said Khamenei, quoted on the state television Al-Alam.
Officials from Britain, France and Germany met earlier Wednesday with their Iranian counterparts in Vienna to hear Tehran's response to an offer that would allow it to avoid potential UN sanctions and receive nuclear technology for indefinitely suspending uranium enrichment.
"When there is a logical demand such as inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), we have accepted. But when there is a threat, we have resisted and will resist," Khamenei added.
A member of the Iranian delegation in Vienna described the talks as "very constructive", while insisting on the Islamic republic's right to nuclear technology.
"The negotiations were very constructive for Iran, and numerous questions were dealt with during five hours of negotiations," Syrus Nasseri said, quoted on Iranian state television.
"Negotiations will continue and, most certainly, can satisfy both parties," he said, cautioning however that "Iran will in no way give up its right to uranium enrichment."
While the talks broke up without any agreement announced, Nasseri told journalists in the Austrian capital, where the IAEA is based, that a follow-up meeting would be hosted "very soon" by one of the so-called European Three.
"A certain progress has been accomplished and there will soon be a second meeting," senior nuclear official Hossein Moussavian told AFP in Tehran.
"Concerning the suspension of uranium enrichment, as a confidence-building measure, we have not yet given a definitive reply."
The MP in charge of the Iranian parliament's foreign affairs and national security committee insisted that Europe recognize his country's right to uranium enrichment.
"It is very important that our right to uranium enrichment be recognised and they (the Europeans) must recognize this right", Allaeddin Borujerdi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA agency.
"I hope we reach an agreement that considers (Iran's) need to follow through with (peaceful) nuclear technology," Borujerdi added.
He also said that a bill to force Iran's reformist government to resume uranium enrichment in defiance of the IAEA was likely to pass after it is debated Sunday.
"I think this bill will be adopted by a vast majority," Borujerdi said of the bill that was proposed earlier this month by his committee.
Iran also said Wednesday that a heavy water plant would go online within a month near the central city of Arak, despite international pressure for Tehran to suspend such nuclear-related activities.
Washington charges that Iran is using its nuclear programme as a cover for efforts to develop a nuclear bomb.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.