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Iran Sends Conflicting Signals On Nuclear Work

Iran says it is planning to increase its enrichment capacity by installing the 3,000 centrifuges, the machines which enrich uranium, at an underground facility in Natanz.

Iran prepared for nuclear issue solution without preconditions
Tehran (RIA Novosti) Jan 29 - Tehran is prepared for negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue without preconditions, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday. Hosseini said Iran still keeps the doors open for negotiations and is prepared for these negotiations to resume but without any preconditions. Hosseini said international pressure will not force Tehran to give up its civilian nuclear technologies.

Iran has been at the center of international concerns since January 2006 over its nuclear program, which some countries suspect is geared toward nuclear weapons development. Tehran has consistently denied the claims, and says it needs nuclear power for civilian purposes. The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1737 on Iran December 23, which imposed sanctions on the country's nuclear weapons programs but allowed officials to make foreign trips and companies to do business abroad.

The sanctions banned activities involving uranium enrichment, chemical reprocessing, heavy water-based projects, and production of means for nuclear weapons delivery. Hosseini said Tehran welcomes any proposal [on the Iran nuclear issue], which will secure the Islamic Republic's right to civilian nuclear technologies within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Hosseini also said Iran will continue cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog, despite its recent refusal to admit 38 inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

by Staff Writers
Tehran, Jan 27 (AFP) Jan 27, 2007
Iran gave conflicting signals on its disputed nuclear work on Saturday with the Islamic republic's atomic energy agency denying Tehran has started to install 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium. "No new centrifuge machines have been installed in the Natanz facility," Hossein Cimorgh, public relations director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

He was responding to an earlier statement by the head of parliament's foreign affairs and national security commission, Alaeddin Borujerdi, who said: "We are now installing the 3,000 centrifuges," according to IRNA.

"God willing it will be finished in due time," the senior MP said, without giving details on the work which Iran has said was scheduled to be completed by the end of March.

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions to pressure Iran to stop uranium enrichment, which makes fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive core of atom bombs.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is a peaceful effort to generate electricity but the United States claims that Iran is hiding work on developing atomic weapons.

The Security Council has said that if Iran freezes enrichment, then sanctions could be lifted.

But Iran says it is planning to increase its enrichment capacity by installing the 3,000 centrifuges, the machines which enrich uranium, at an underground facility in Natanz.

It is already running two pilot cascades of 164-centrifuges each at a pilot site above-ground in Natanz, but the larger project would raise the work to an industrial scale.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki earlier Saturday defended Iran's decision to bar 38 inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saying the move was within its legal rights.

"We decide about our cooperation considering the rights enshrined for members. Legally speaking, the decisions taken will not create any problems in our relations with the IAEA," Mottaki told reporters.

Iran announced on Monday it was blocking 38 UN nuclear watchdog inspectors from entering the country in reprisal for the sanctions.

In December, parliament adopted a bill requiring the government to revise its cooperation with the IAEA in retaliation for the Security Council imposing limited sanctions on Iran.

Mottaki's comments came after a group of three IAEA inspectors arrived in Tehran on Friday for a week-long stay to visit Natanz and Isfahan nuclear sites in central Iran, IRNA said.

Iran has also sent a letter to the agency asking for the removal of Christian Charlier, a Belgian official overseeing the IAEA's inspection of its nuclear programme, for alleged leaks to the press.

earlier related report
Iran atomic energy organisation denies centrifuges installed
Tehran (AFP) Jan 27 - The Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation denied on Saturday that installation had begun of 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium under its disputed nuclear programme, state media said. "No new centrifuge machines have been installed in the Natanz facility," Hossein Cimorgh, public relations director of the organisation, was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.

He was speaking in response to an earlier statement by the head of parliament's foreign affairs and national security commission, Alaeddin Borujerdi, who said: "We are now installing the 3,000 centrifuges," according to IRNA.

"God willing it will be finished in due time," the official said, without giving details on the work which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March.

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions to pressure Iran to stop uranium enrichment, which makes fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive core of atom bombs.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is a peaceful effort to generate electricity but the United States claims the Islamic republic is hiding work on developing atomic weapons.

The Security Council has said that if Iran freezes enrichment, then sanctions could be lifted.

But Iran is planning to increase its enrichment capacity by installing the 3,000 centrifuges, the machines which enrich uranium, at an underground facility in Natanz.

It is already running two pilot cascades of 164-centrifuges each at a pilot site above-ground in Natanz.

earlier related report
Iran defends barring UN nuclear inspectors
Tehran (AFP) Jan 27 - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Saturday defended Iran's decision to bar 38 inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saying the move was within its legal rights.

"We decide about our cooperation considering the rights enshrined for members. Legally speaking, the decisions taken will not create any problems in our relations with the IAEA," Mottaki told reporters when asked whether Iran would remove the ban.

Iran said member states of the IAEA have a right to reject inspectors they do not deem fit after on Monday announcing it was blocking 38 UN nuclear watchdog inspectors from entering the country in reprisal for UN Security Council sanctions.

In December, the Iranian parliament adopted a bill requiring the government to revise its cooperation with the IAEA in retaliation for the UN Security Council imposing limited sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment work.

Uranium enrichment is the process which can make nuclear fuel as well as the fissile core of an atom bomb in highly purified forms.

Mottaki's comments came after a group of three IAEA inspectors arrived in Tehran on Friday for a week-long stay to visit Natanz and Isfahan nuclear sites in central Iran, the official IRNA news agency said.

Iran has also sent a letter to the agency asking for the removal of Christian Charlier, a senior Belgian official overseeing the IAEA's inspection of the Iranian nuclear programme, for alleged leaks to the press.

Iran says the programme is a peaceful effort to generate electricity but the United States claims Tehran is hiding work on developing atomic weapons.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

Iran And US Between The Logic Of Sanctions And The Logic Of War
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jan 26, 2007
"The Middle East isn't a region to be dominated by Iran. The Gulf isn't a body of water to be controlled by Iran. That's why we've seen the United States station two carrier battle groups in the region," Nicholas Burns, U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said in an address to the Dubai-based Gulf Research Center, an influential think-tank, when commenting on the decision of President George W. Bush to send a second U.S. aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf.







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