Iran says it will never abandon enrichment activities
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 30, 2004
Iran's top national security official said Tuesday that Tehran had only agreed to a temporary freeze of its controversial nuclear fuel activities and would never totally abandon its uranium enrichment work.
"Contrary to what the Americans pretend, the Islamic republic has not renounced the nuclear fuel cycle, will never renounce it and will use it," Hassan Rowhani told a news conference.
On Monday the UN atomic agency adopted a toned-down resolution on Iran's nuclear programme after Tehran agreed in a deal with Britain, France and Germany to freeze all uranium enrichment activities.
Had Tehran not agreed to the suspension, it risked being referred by the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
Iran and the European trio are to begin talks in December on a package of rewards to Iran for suspending uranium enrichment, the key process using centrifuges to make fuel for nuclear reactors -- or the explosive core of atomic bombs.
"The suspension will only last as long as the negotiations. It should be a question of months and not years," Rowhani said.
"Their duration must be reasonable, should not be prolonged, and we should not feel during the negotiations that they are trying to gain time" in order to extend the duration of the freeze, he said.
Europe is ready to negotiate on trade, transfers of nuclear technology and help on security issues. But the talks will also be aimed at producing "objective guarantees" that Iran will not divert its nuclear programme towards making an atomic bomb.
Iran claims its nuclear programme is a peaceful, civilian effort but the United States insists there is a covert weapons plan.
The IAEA is continuing to investigate Iran, as its director Mohamed ElBaradei has said that while no diversion of nuclear materials for weapons purposes has been detected, he could not rule out the possibility of covert activity.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.