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. Iran refuses to negotiate under UN threat
TEHRAN (AFP) Nov 29, 2005
A senior Iranian official said Tuesday that Tehran would not accept further talks on its disputed nuclear programme if the country continues to be threatened with UN Security Council action.

Speaking in an interview with the semi-official Mehr news agency, nuclear negotiator Javad Vaidi also said planned negotiations with the European Union would only focus on uranium enrichment inside Iran.

"If the board of governors at the International Atomic Energy Agency evokes the threat of the Security Council during their next meeting, negotiations are pointless," he was quoted as saying.

"As long as the last IAEA resolution of September 24 stands as a sword of Damocles over Iran's head, pursuing negotiations is not worthwhile."

In September the IAEA board, driven by concerns Iran is using an atomic energy drive as a cover for weapons development, found Iran to be in "non-compliance" with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The finding is a trigger for the matter to be referred to the Security Council, but last week the board put off such a move to give time for a new Russian diplomatic initiative.

Under the compromise plan, Russia would conduct uranium enrichment -- a process which can make both nuclear fuel and the explosive core of a weapon -- on Iran's behalf.

But Vaidi said "Iran will only accept a plan that guarantees the right of Iran to make nuclear fuel on its own territory" and would reject any proposal that "totally or partially deprives Iran of the nuclear fuel cycle".

Two years of talks between Iran and the EU-3 broke off in August when Tehran rejected an offer of trade and other incentives in exchange for its promise to limit its nuclear activities amid fears they could be used for military purposes.

Iran then broke an agreement with the EU to suspend uranium enrichment-related work by resuming conversion -- a precursor to ultra-sensitive enrichment work.

On Sunday the EU wrote to Iran to test the waters for resuming direct talks, EU foreign policy head Javier Solana said.

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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