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EU Urges Iran To Give Ground On Nuclear Programme, Resume Talks

"They have to at least reduce the level of (uranium) conversion that they are doing now," Solana said on the eve of a meeting in Vienna of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Warsaw (AFP) Nov 23, 2005
The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Wednesday called on Iran to make concessions on its controversial nuclear programme in order to allow talks with the EU to resume.

The EU would like "very much to resume dialogue" with Iran on its nuclear programme, "but for that to happen, they also have to contribute," Solana told a press conference at the foreign ministry in Warsaw, where he was on a one-day official visit.

"They have to at least reduce the level of (uranium) conversion that they are doing now," Solana said on the eve of a meeting in Vienna of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Talks between the EU and Tehran broke off in August when Iran resumed uranium conversion after a nine-month suspension.

Conversion turns uranium ore into the gas that is the feedstock for making enriched uranium, which can either fuel nuclear power reactors or serve as the raw material for atom bombs.

"What (the EU) would like to do is continue offering the possibility to Iran to keep on with dialogue and keep on with the objective, which is very clear to us, that Iran has the right to have a peaceful programme for nuclear energy, but we don't want that programme to be taken in a military direction," Solana said.

"That is something that we would object to, we would not accept. That is not only the position of the EU but the position of the majority of the international community."

The European Union and the United States fear that Iran is using its civilian nuclear power program as a cover for weapons development.

The United States and the EU had threatened to call at Thursday's board meeting of the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, for Iran be brought before the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme.

But they were widely expected to hold off on their threat in order to give Russia time to get Tehran to agree to a compromise.

Russia supports Iran's right to civilian nuclear technology and opposes any referral to the world body.

A meeting with the Iranians and negotiators from Russia and the so-called EU-3 -- Britain, France and Germany -- is planned for December 6 to break the deadlock over the disputed nuclear program.

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Two New England high-technology companies and their top executives were sentenced late Friday, November 18, 2005, in federal court for violating United States export law in connection with the export to India of equipment that is used to manufacture a material that improves the accuracy of strategic ballistic missiles with nuclear capabilities.







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