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. No Uranium Enrichment Permissible For Iran Says Bolton

An open pit Uranium mine.
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Mar 06, 2006
The United States on Monday restated its opposition to allowing Iran to proceed with small-level uranium enrichment as part of a compromise to resolve the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

As the UN nuclear watchdog met in Vienna to consider the issue, Russia proposed a package that would allow Iran eventually to do small-scale uranium enrichment but not obtain the technology that can be used to make nuclear weapons, according to diplomats in the Viennese capital.

"I'm not aware of this proposal but it's been a core element of our view and the view of the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) and certainly of the Russian Federation that no enrichment in Iran is permissible," US ambassador to the UN John Bolton told reporters.

"The reason for that is that even a small so-called research enrichment program could give Iran the possibility of mastering the technical deficiencies it's currently encountering in its program," he noted.

"Once Iran has the scientific and technological capability to do even laboratory size enrichment, that knowledge could be replicated in industrial-size enrichment activities elsewhere, that's why we've felt very strongly that no enrichment inside Iran should be permitted, and that remains our position."

Uranium enrichment is used to produce fuel for nuclear power reactors but, taken further, can also provide fuel for bomb-making.

Bolton refused to comment on press reports that Washington would press the UN Security Council to give Iran a 30-day deadline to comply with IAEA demands to halt uranium enrichment and provide assurances it is not seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

If Tehran does not comply with the council demands within 30 days, Washington will propose that it face "severe diplomatic pressures", the Washington Post reported Saturday, quoting anonymous US and European officials.

"I'd rather not comment on exactly how we'll proceed, we're still engaged in consultations with others," Bolton said, noting that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would visit Washington Tuesday.

"We've got a number of ideas that we've shared with other governments and we'll be reaching a decision within a matter of days," the US envoy said.

In Vienna, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Monday he hoped an agreement could be reached soon to avert punitive UN Security Council action.

But speaking to a powerful Israel lobby group in Washington Sunday, Bolton warned Tehran that "if it continues down the path of international isolation there will be tangible and painful consequences."

He said he world community should "use all tools at our disposal to stop the threat that the Iranian regime poses", although he stressed that the UN Security Council "will likely take a graduated approach to dealing with this issue."

The IAEA board of governors had reported Iran to the Security Council on February 4 but left a month open for diplomacy until the 35-member council gets a report from ElBaradei.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
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Russia Offering Deal Which Includes Iranian Enrichment
Vienna (AFP) Mar 06, 2006
Russia is proposing a package that would allow Iran eventually to do small-scale uranium enrichment but not obtain the technology that can be used to make nuclear weapons, diplomats told AFP Monday.

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