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. Iran wants clear response from Europe on nuclear proposal
TEHRAN (AFP) Apr 27, 2005
Iran expects a clear answer from Europe to its proposal to continue uranium enrichment as part of its controversial nuclear programme, a member of the negotiating team said Wednesday.

"The last meeting was positive and we want to be optimistic about Friday's meeting. We expect a clear response to our proposals from the Europeans," Ali Agha-Mohammadi told AFP.

Iran and the European Union, represented by Germany, Britain and France, have been involved in lengthy negotiations, with the EU demanding that Tehran abandon nuclear fuel work to guarantee it will not make atomic weapons.

Iran suspended enrichment last November as a confidence-building measure to start the talks with the EU, which is offering Tehran trade, security and technology rewards if it makes the suspension permanent.

It repeated Sunday it will one day resume its controversial uranium enrichment programme regardless of the result of negotiations with the European Union on its nuclear activities.

"It is obvious that the suspension cannot last too long," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi. "If Iran feels the EU is tending to kill time to prolong the negotiations, Iran will obviously not wish to continue the negotiations."

The next round of negotiations is set for Friday in London.

The United States backs the EU initiative but is not party to the talks. It charges that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons and must be kept from enriching uranium -- a process which makes fuel for nuclear power reactors but also the explosive core of atom bombs.

Iran denies it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Diplomats have said Iran has proposed to limit its enrichment activities, but the country has refused a total halt. A resumption of enrichment activities without any wider agreement could see Iran referred to the UN Security Council, something the United States has been pushing for.

Iran has attributed the international pressure to what it sees as "double standards", given that it has signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while arch-enemy Israel -- an undeclared nuclear power -- has not.

"Israel has unfortunately jeopardized peace and security in the region. If the big powers want to do something, they have to take Israel to the Security Council," Asefi said.

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