Iran offers new proposals, no compromise in nuclear talks
TEHRAN (AFP) Dec 19, 2005
Iran will make new proposals during talks on its nuclear programme with Britain, France and Germany this week but will not compromise its demand to conduct sensitive fuel work, officials said Monday.
"We will make other proposals," Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, a vice president and head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, told Iranian news agencies.
"The Iranian delegation will welcome all proposals, on the condition that they recognise the rights of Iran," Aghazadeh said ahead of a meeting with the so-called EU-3 in Vienna on Wednesday.
The first formal talks between the two sides in months will examine the possibility of resuming long-term negotiations aimed at winning guarantees that Iran will not acquire the bomb.
Failure could spark a push by the Europeans and United States for the issue to be sent to the UN Security Council.
Iran insists it only wants to make reactor fuel and generate electricity, and that the uranium enrichment process is a "right" to any signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- even though the process can be extended to make weapons material.
"The world has understood that the national will of Iran to enrich is serious," top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was quoted as saying.
The European Union and the United States argue that Iran cannot be trusted with such technology, and the issue of enrichment is the cause of the current deadlock.
Aghazadeh did not elaborate on the proposals Iran could present, but pointed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's offer for foreign firms to be involved in enrichment on Iranian soil as a form of guarantee that the fuel cycle will not be diverted to weapons making.
The Europeans have already rejected this idea, and are in turn pressing a proposal from Moscow whereby Iran could only enrich its uranium on Russian soil. Tehran has rejected that idea.
According to Larijani, the negotiations will simply focus on Iran enriching and on ways to ensure that "Iran's enrichment is not diverted" to military purposes.
To underline Iran's uncompromising stand, he asserted that "the atmosphere created by the United States increases the determination of Iran to reach its nuclear objectives as quickly as possible".
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