EU-3 cancel scheduled nuclear talks with Iran
18 November 2005, VIENNA/TEHRAN/SEOUL - The European Union rejected a Russian proposal for talks with Iran in Moscow after Tehran resumed uranium conversion in its Isfahan plant in central Iran.
18 November 2005
VIENNA/TEHRAN/SEOUL - The European Union rejected a Russian proposal for talks with Iran in Moscow after Tehran resumed uranium conversion in its Isfahan plant in central Iran.
Diplomatic sources in Vienna said Friday Brussels' decision came in response to Iran's latest move which was "the wrong signal" in view of the international efforts to find a solution in the controversy.
The meeting had been planned to take place in Moscow next week and to focus on Russia's compromise suggestion which would have allowed Tehran to convert uranium if the more controversial enrichment was to take place in Russia rather than Iran.
United States President George W. Bush called the suggestion "interesting" and worth pursuing during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
However, Tehran appeared angered at the decision of the E.U. trio Germany, Britain, and France to halt the talks.
"We seriously applied for continuing negotiations (with the E.U.) as requested by the board of governors (of the International Atomic Energy Agency), if the others rejected, then they should also be held responsible for the consequences," Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Friday.
Meanwhile, thousands of Iranians staged anti-U.S. demonstrations at the nuclear enrichment plant in Natanz in central Iran Friday, demanding the start of uranium enrichment in the plant.
The demonstrators, mostly students, also burnt down a mock-up of Washington's White House at the plant, which was heavily guarded by armed soldiers and aircraft.
At the plant, raw uranium or yellowcake is turned into UF-6 gas which is the basis for the enrichment process. Whilst low-level enrichment can be used to produce nuclear fuel, high-level enrichment is sufficient to produce nuclear weapons.
For the past two years, Western countries have been trying to convince Tehran to give up its enrichment process in Isfahan as they fear Tehran could use the process towards nuclear arms.
Larijani confirmed Friday that Iran began converting more uranium in Isfahan earlier in the week and stressed that the plant would continue operation.
The beginning of uranium conversion in August had prompted the breakdown of long-running negotiations between the so-called E.U. trio and Iran.
The governing body of the IAEA is due to discuss the controversial programme again next week, in its session on November 24 in Vienna.
In September, the panel had strongly criticized Iran over its resumption of uranium conversion, accusing Tehran of several violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Under the regulations of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, any such violations normally have to be referred to the U.N. Security Council. However, according to observers this is unlikely as the parties do not want to endanger a possible compromise with Tehran.
Subject: German news