Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

EU, US considering offering Iran nuclear reactor: diplomats

File photo: Inside Iran's nuclear conversion facility, Isfahan.
by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) May 17, 2006
Europe and the United States are considering helping Iran acquire a light-water nuclear reactor in return for Tehran giving up uranium enrichment on its soil as a guarantee that it will not make atomic weapons, diplomats said Tuesday.

UN sanctions could follow if Iran did not accept the deal, the diplomats told AFP, citing the package being written by European Union nations Britain, Germany and France.

The offer was to have been reviewed Friday in London by the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany, but this meeting will likely be postponed until next week.

"The package has not been approved. It is under development," Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said late Tuesday in Washington.

"We will be meeting probably next week in London," instead of Friday as planned, but he said the talks on new incentives are progressing.

Under the draft deal Russia would enrich uranium on Iran's behalf.

Enrichment is a process that makes fuel for nuclear power reactors but can also produce the core of a nuclear weapon.

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned he will reject any new EU offer requiring the Islamic republic to halt uranium enrichment.

Diplomats said this could doom any proposal, as the EU, backed by the United States, insists on Iran giving up uranium enrichment work.

A Western diplomat said the United States could "accept the idea of an international consortium to provide advanced, proliferation-resistant light-water reactor assistance to Iran, but only in the context of an agreement in which Iran has verifiably agreed not to pursue uranium enrichment, including research, for the foreseeable future."

The diplomat said Washington was pleased that the EU has "for the first time committed itself to specific United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran if Iran fails to comply."

The European Union had pledged Monday in Brussels to make a "bold" offer to persuade Iran to curb its atomic ambitions.

A light-water research reactor is considered less of a proliferation risk than a heavy-water reactor, which can produce large amounts of plutonium -- another nuclear weapon ingredient.

Offering Iran a light-water reactor needs US backing, as European companies involved in this technology would not want to endanger their business with the United States, diplomats said.

Iran, which is currently building a heavy-water reactor, insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity, but the United States charges it is a cover for developing atomic weapons.

The five permanent Security Council members plus Germany are blocked over how to crack down on Iran's nuclear program after Tehran failed to comply with the Council's call on March 29 for it to freeze uranium enrichment.

Washington, along with the so-called EU-3, favors a Security Council resolution that would require compliance. This could open the door to sanctions, and even military action, if Iran continues to enrich uranium.

Iranian allies Russia and China oppose such a resolution, saying they fear an escalation of the crisis.

This leaves the EU powers now trying to find a negotiation package acceptable to Russia and China.

The Europeans, backed by the United States, had offered benefits including help in obtaining a light-water reactor last August, but Iran rejected this offer.

"The package involves Iran giving up industrial-scale enrichment and agreeing to having it done in Russia," a diplomat close to the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

Iran would then get trade benefits -- the Europeans have already promised to help Tehran get into the World Trade Organization.

Related Links

London meeting on Iran crisis postponed: Britain
London (AFP) May 17, 2006
A meeting of world powers in London this Friday on the Iran nuclear crisis has been postponed in order to fine-tune European Union proposals to Tehran, Britain said.

  • Bush administration to meet lawmakers to push Indian nuclear deal
  • China considering US offer to observe military exercises
  • US-Russian Forum Opens In Washington
  • Russia Will Not Relapse Into Cold War Era In Relations With West Says Putin

  • Iranian president ridicules European nuclear offer
  • London meeting on Iran crisis postponed: Britain
  • EU, US considering offering Iran nuclear reactor: diplomats
  • Saudi king does not expect US-Iran military showdown

  • Taiwan plans to produce supersonic anti-ship missiles: report
  • Ex-Israeli army chief warns of long-range Iran missiles
  • Restraint and not pressure stops ICBM test: India
  • LM Completes Missile-Warning System Software Development

  • Hamilton Sundstrand's Thrust Vector Actuation System Demonstrated In THAAD Test
  • Kremlin Voices Concern At US Conventional Missile Plans
  • US Backs Missile Defense Cooperation With Russia
  • Boeing Completes Missile Defense Silo Modification Tests

  • British Aerospace Production Up Strongly In First Quarter
  • Face Of Outdoor Advertising Changes With New Airship Design
  • NASA Denies Talks With Japan On Supersonic Jet
  • Test Pilot Crossfield Killed In Private Plane Crash

  • BAE Proposes Skylynx UAV For Marine Corps Tier II Program
  • Global Hawk Completes Wet Runway Test
  • VMU-2 Mechs Maintain Unmanned Aircraft
  • Army Aviation Warfighting Center Assumes UAS Training Mission

  • UK And Australian Prime Ministers Both Knew There Were No WMDs
  • Two British soldiers killed by bomb in Iraq: defence ministry
  • US soldiers with mental problems kept in Iraq: report
  • Iraq's Nightmare Reality

  • Kaman Issues Statement Regarding Its Australian SH-2G(A) Helicopter Program
  • Boeing Future Combat System Demonstrates Progress And Technology Maturity
  • Raptors To Bring Air Superiority To Northern Edge 2006
  • Air Force Plans For A Greener Future

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement