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. Iran vows no way back from nuclear move
TEHRAN (AFP) Aug 07, 2005
Iran on Sunday insisted there was no going back from its decision to resume uranium conversion in defiance of the European Union, despite an upcoming meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog and warnings of an international crisis.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said the ultra-sensitive nuclear activity would start once inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency had put surveillance equipment in place, putting Tehran on a collision course with Europe and the United States.

"They need to install additional surveillance cameras and the work will resume once these have been installed," at the uranium conversion plant in Isfahan in central Iran, Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

The IAEA, which has placed metal seals at the plant, has said that its inspection team will put in place the equipment by the middle of the week. Iran has always emphasised it wants to break the seals in concert with the

Gholamreza Aghazadeh, head of Iran's atomic agency, said that the necessary equipment would be installed on Monday with the breaking of the seals and the restart of the plant following shortly afterwards.

"The IAEA technical representative will be in Tehran this evening (Sunday) and the agency's technical equipment will be installed tomorrow (Monday)," he told the ISNA news agency.

"The removal of the seals and the restart of the plant will happen soon after."

Iran's conservative-controlled parliament demanded that conversion resume ahead of Tuesday's meeting of the IAEA governors, outside the watchdog's supervision if necessary.

"It appears that the agency, in coordination with the Europeans, does not want to be present for the removal of the seals before meeting and publishing a resolution on Tuesday," the chairman of the legislature's foreign affairs committee, Kazem Jalali, said.

"If the agency wants to drag things out until Tuesday ... Iran will act to remove the seals," said the committee's recommendation to Iran's new hardline president Mahmood Ahmadinejad.

Iran's decision to resume uranium conversion and its rejection of European Union incentives to abandon its nuclear fuel cycle work sparked warnings that talks with the bloc could be over and cause UN Security Council intervention.

But the foreign ministry spokesman insisted Iran was unconcerned about the possibility of Security Council action.

"If one day, Iran's case is referred to the UN Security Council, we are not worried. If the Europeans choose this way, it's up to them to see if it is to their benefit or not," he said.

Aghazadeh said it was in any case the European Union's fault for bringing matters to a head by submitting such an "insulting" package of incentives.

The bloc "knows perfectly well that the nuclear fuel cycle is our red line", he said.

"We want the marginal issues of economic, political and security cooperation removed from the negotiations because they have distracted attention from the key issue" of nuclear cooperation.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi reaffirmed that the EU offer was unacceptable.

"The main elements that we wanted to see in these proposals, like (the right to) enrichment are not there and thus these proposals are for us without value," he told state television.

Diplomats said it was not expected that the IAEA board of governors would immediately send Iran to the Security Council at Tuesday's meeting but would most likely make a renewed appeal to the Islamic republic.

The EU offer, backed by the United States, aimed to allow the Islamic republic the right pursue peaceful nuclear energy activities as long as it refrains from fuel-cycle work that could help it make atomic weapons.

Asefi said that Tehran was currently working on a written response to the European offer to hand over to them by Monday.

He rejected any notion of directly negotiating with the United States, which accuses Tehran of trying to develop a nuclear bomb, saying "the moment to talk with the US has not come, it's up to the Europeans to decide if they want to stay under US influence."

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.

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