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. Iran holds ground while pledging to continue working with UN atomic agency
VIENNA (AFP) Aug 11, 2005
Iran on Thursday pledged it would continue to work with the UN atomic agency but said it would also make nuclear fuel after the agency condemned it for this activity.

"We will continue to work with the agency," Iranian representative Cyrus Nasseri told a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

But he also told the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors that as for making nuclear fuel, "Iran will not bend. Iran will be a nuclear fuel producer and supplier within a decade."

The IAEA adopted by consensus Thursday an EU resolution calling on Iran to halt nuclear fuel work it has begun at a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan in violation of an agreement to suspend such activity reached with the European Union last November in Paris.

The agency left the door open to further talks if Iran complies.

Earlier, Mohammad Saidi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, warned here that the resolution was "unacceptable" and that "the Paris accord will become void if the resolution proposed by the Europeans is adopted."

Under the November 2004 accord, Tehran agreed to suspend uranium conversion and enrichment fuel cycle work for the duration of negotiations aimed at securing guarantees that it is not secretly developing nuclear weapons in return for trade and other benefits.

This accord is a voluntary undertaking by Iran, unlike safeguards agreements signed with the IAEA which are obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Nasseri said Iran would "maintain our activities fully under safeguards," such as uranium conversion at the plant in Isfahan which is monitored by IAEA cameras and inspectors.

He said Iran was willing to continue talks with the EU but only if the Europeans accepted that the conversion work would continue.

The Isfahan plant carries out the first step in making enriched uranium that can be fuel for power reactors, but can also serve as the raw material for atom bombs.

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