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US Rejects Call For Timeout In Iranian Nuclear Crisis

UN nuclear chief Mohamad ElBaradei. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Jan 29, 2007
The United States on Monday rejected a proposal by the UN nuclear chief to call "timeout" in the Iranian nuclear crisis, saying the UN resolutions already being applied were not up for renegotiation. "There is a path laid out for suspension and that is Iranian suspension of their enrichment activities to be responded to by the Council.

"So that is very clear and it's not subject to reinterpretation," the US representative to the United Nations, Alejandro Wolff, said.

UN nuclear chief Mohamad ElBaradei proposed on Friday that to end the standoff Tehran should stop uranium enrichment and the UN should simultaneously suspend sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Washington has led calls for Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, accusing Iranian leaders of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

A UN Security Council resolution passed on December 23 imposed sanctions on Iran until it suspends uranium enrichment, which makes fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also produces material for atomic bombs.

But Iran continues to defy the international community and has vowed to increase its enrichment capacity by installing 3,000 centrifuges, arguing that its nuclear program is strictly for civilian energy purposes.

Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, was more upbeat about ElBaradei's proposal however, saying: "All acts would have to be verified. I personally read Mr ElBaradei's remarks as a very useful reminder of the positive clauses that are included in the resolution."

Russia is a long-term ally of Iran and Moscow's security chief Igor Ivanov on Sunday vowed to finish on time a nuclear power plant being built with Russian help in Bushehr on Iran's southwestern Gulf coast.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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North Korea And US To Tackle Sanctions
Seoul (UPI) Jan 29, 2007
Financial officials from North Korea and the United States are set to meet this week to discuss U.S. sanctions on the communist country, with rising hopes of a breakthrough over the key sticking point in the prolonged nuclear standoff. Analysts in Seoul say the results of the financial talks that will begin on Tuesday would determine the fate of the next round of six-nation nuclear talks expected to open during the second week of February.

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