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. Iran confirms coversion of new quantities of uranium
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 18, 2005
Iran confirmed Friday it has resumed converting new quantities of uranium, only a week before the UN atomic energy watchdog is to consider action against the country.

"We have done it and the facilities are continuing to work," said top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, referring to media reports of work at the Isfahan uranium conversion plant, 400 kilometres (250 miles) south of Tehran.

"This isn't new stuff," he said, adding that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been informed.

Iran on Wednesday started a new round of converting uranium ore into the gas that is the precursor for making enriched uranium, which can be fuel for civilian power reactors or the raw material for nuclear bombs.

"We are not against negotiations either with the Europeans or other paths that have recently become active," said Larijani, referring to contacts with Russia.

"If they want to waste opportunities, we will resort to other means," the top negotiator warned.

Negotiations with Britain, France and Germany were broken off in August when Iran resumed conversion work which it had voluntarily suspended in 2004.

Larijani was optimistic over a new report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

"Since his deputy was in Iran and has seen from close-up the so-called lies of the Americans I assume that we will have a rational and clear report," he said. "This time, apparently, the IAEA is taking positive steps."

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