Iran threatens to break negotiations with EU
TEHRAN (AFP) May 07, 2005
Iran threatened Saturday the possibility that it might break off negotiations with the European Union over its sensitive nuclear activities if the talks do not bear fruit.
"We told the Europeans that, if the negotiations did not bear the expected results, their continuation was useless," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi was quoted by state television as saying.
He was speaking in New York on the sidelines of the UN conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Kharazi pointed to an agreement reached in November with the Europeans, adding that "if the negotiations did not bear any results at the end of three months, it would be stopped, and today we are at this stage."
"Our threats in connection with enrichment are not hollow and we will soon make a decision," Kharazi said.
Iran is under pressure from the international community to give up uranium enrichment, which is alarmed by years of concealment of its activity by Tehran.
Iran's enrichment activity is at the heart of debates in the New York conference, which opened on Monday.
In November, Iran agreed to suspend all its activities relating to enrichment, when it opened negotiations with the three big European countries -- Germany, France, and Great Britain -- for a technological, commercial and political cooperation agreement with the European Union.
However, dissatisfied with new discussions with Europeans, Iran announced in London on April 29 that it could go through with the uranium conversion in the next few days, a prerequisite for enrichment.
The Europeans have told the Iranians that if the negotiations do not bear fruit they would support the idea of Iran's nuclear case be sent to the UN Security Council, as was recommended by the Americans months ago. That could possibly lead to sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Kharazi criticized the slow pace of the negotiations and lack of any tangible results.
Also, contrary to what he said the Westerners claim, Iran is "able to face crises."
"To try to intimidate Iran with political and economic crises will not prevent us from taking advantage of our legitimate rights, i.e. the right to enrich uranium as said in the NPT."
For the Europeans, an Iranian renouncement of enrichment would constitute the most convincing guarantee that Iran does not seek to make the nuclear weapons.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.