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. Iran says it has given objective guarantees over nuke programme
TEHRAN (AFP) Mar 08, 2005
Iran asserted Tuesday it had gone far enough in providing "objective guarantees" that its nuclear programme was purely peaceful and warned that a refusal by the European Union to accept this would bring negotiations to a dead-end.

"We will not accept any incentives in return for (a halt of) enrichment," Ali Agha Mohammadi, a spokesman for Irans Supreme National Security Council, told state television.

Britain, France and Germany are trying to convince Iran to halt its work on the nuclear fuel cycle -- including the sensitive process of enriching uranium -- in return for a package of incentives covering trade, security and technology.

The EUs "big three" see a halt in enrichment as the only way Iran can provide the objective guarantees needed to convince the many sceptics that it is not seeking to use an atomic enrgy drive as a means of also developing the capability to develop a bomb.

But Mohammadi asserted that "the Islamic Republic of Iran has given its objective guarantees and the Europeans should give their guarantees" that Iran can continue with fuel cycle work -- permitted by the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if for peaceful purposes.

The two sides on Tuesday resumed key technical talks on the issue in Geneva, but Mohammadi warned that the negotiations may be heading for a dead-end due to the disagreement over enrichment -- a process that can make both fuel for a reactor and the explosive core of a nuclear weapon.

"If, in this meeting, the Europeans cannot come up with an objective and firm guarantee" that enables Iran to resume fuel cycle work, "in practical terms the negotiations are heading towards a dead-end," the official said.

The United States maintains that Iran is trying to covertly develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran insists that its programme is purely meant to meet civilian energy needs.

Iran agreed in November to suspend enrichment as a "confidence-building measure", but insists the freeze will only be temporary.

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