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. Iran just days away from deciding next nuclear step
TEHRAN (AFP) May 10, 2005
Iran will decide within the next few days on whether to resume some sensitive nuclear activities that were suspended as part of a deal with the European Union, a senior official told AFP on Tuesday.

"It (the decision) will come at the end of the week (Friday), at the latest," said Ali Agha Mohammadi, a spokesman for the Islamic republic's Supreme National Security Council.

He said officials -- including Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi and members of the hardline-controlled parliament -- would meet the national security body to settle the question on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Late on Monday, an Iranian official negotiating with the EU said a decision on breaking the nuclear freeze had already been taken, and that "we will relaunch in the next few days uranium conversion installations at Isfahan."

"It concerns activities that we suspended," said Mohammad Saidi.

Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany have already made clear that an Iranian resumption of fuel cycle work, the focus of international fears that Iran may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons, would be seen as breaking the November 2004 suspension agreement that opened their negotiations with Tehran.

In such a case the Europeans could side with the United States and seek Iran's referral to the United Nations Security Council, which could then choose to impose sanctions.

The United States also warned Iran on Monday that a resumption of its suspended nuclear fuel activities would have what it termed "consequences".

But the clerical regime has voiced frustration over the progress of the talks with the EU-3, in which the EU are offering a package of incentives in return for "objective guarantees" that Iran it will not develop weapons.

The plant at Isfahan is used to convert mined uranium "yellowcake" into a feed gas for centifuges that carry out the enrichment process. Enriched uranium can be used for peaceful power generation but also as the explosive core of a nuclear bomb.

Tehran insists that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only and that it has every right to develop nuclear power.

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