Iran to resume some nuclear activities 'in days'
TEHRAN (AFP) May 09, 2005
Iran will resume some sensitive nuclear activities "in the next few days", an Iranian official negotiating with the EU over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme told AFP Monday.
"We will relaunch in the next few days uranium conversion installations at Isfahan," said Mohammad Saidi.
"It concerns activities that we suspended," Saidi said when asked which activities would be resumed.
The plant at Isfahan is used to convert uranium, prior to it being enriched.
Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful power generation but also as the explosive core of a nuclear bomb.
Iran agreed in November last year to suspend its fuel cycle work -- the focus of international fears the country may be seeking the bomb -- and open talks with Britain, France and Germany.
But the clerical regime has since voiced frustration over the negotiations, in which the EU-3 are offering a package of incentives in return for "objective guarantees" from Iran that it will not develop weapons.
And Iran has repeatedly said it will resume the uranium enrichment work if an agreement is not reached with the European Union.
"If the Europeans don't take our proposals into account, we will resume our activities," said Saidi, without specifying which.
"But for the time being the resumption only concerns the conversion installation."
"Iran masters nuclear technology and, in two years, can attain (nuclear fuel) production," he said.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi Asefi had warned on Sunday that Iran would resume sensitive work on the nuclear fuel process.
"The decision has been taken to start some of our activities" at Iran's uranium conversion facility in Isfahan, he said, but added: "We have not decided what we will start or when."
Uranium conversion is a process that turns raw "yellowcake" into the feed gas that can then be refined in centrifuges in the enrichment process -- which in turn can make fuel for nuclear reactors, or constitute the explosive core of atomic bombs.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi on Saturday said that Iran might break off the negotiations with the European Union.
"We told the Europeans that, if the negotiations did not bear the expected results, their continuation was useless, " Kharazi was quoted as saying by state television.
The Europeans have meanwhile warned that if there is no deal, they would support the idea of Iran's nuclear dossier being sent to the UN Security Council which could impose sanctions.
The last round of talks between Iranian and EU negotiators was held in London last month but no new negotiations have been arranged.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.