Iran sees nuclear agreement with EU as possible

26th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 August 2005, VIENNA - Iran's newly-appointed chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Friday said agreement with the European Union over the country's controversial nuclear programme was possible, but reiterated Iran's right to enrich uranium in order to generate nuclear power.

26 August 2005

VIENNA - Iran's newly-appointed chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on Friday said agreement with the European Union over the country's controversial nuclear programme was possible, but reiterated Iran's right to enrich uranium in order to generate nuclear power.

Speaking in Vienna following talks with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, Larijani said the differences between Iran and the E.U. over the nuclear issue were not as great as perceived.

"I don't think the gap is as huge as you consider it," Larijani insisted. "As you know, the Europeans have confirmed our right to nuclear development."

Larijani expressed optimism that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would present new proposals aimed at breaking the nuclear negotiation deadlock "within a month".

The E.U. trio of Britain, France and Germany have been involved in talks with Iran aimed at solving the international controversy over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

The United States, above all, suspects that Tehran is secretly developing nuclear weapons with its uranium enrichment programme. Iran however has stressed repeatedly that it has an internationally- defined right to nuclear energy.

Larijani said Iran is unperturbed by the threat of U.N. sanctions.

"With the power that Iran enjoys in the region, there is no way that Iran can be worried about the threat of the Security Council," he said. "This is not in the interest of the E.U. and the U.S."

He further described Iran's current position as a "win-win" situation, adding that the resumption of uranium conversion at the country's Isfahan plant, which is fully supervised by the IAEA, was a "matter of fact".

In Isfahan, uranium ore is converted into hexafluoride gas and stored in the plant. The next step is to feed the gas into centrifuges for the enrichment process, to be effected in another plant at Natanz.

Low-grade enriched uranium is used for nuclear fuel but the same process, at a higher grade, can be used to develop nuclear weapons.

Larijani said that several independent states, among them South Africa, had expressed interest in participating in the nuclear negotiations. "This could have a positive influence on the talks," the official said.

While insisting that Iran's chief partner for dialogue on the nuclear issue remained the IAEA, Larijani said he did not think "the European capacity to negotiate has been passed".

Larijani again stressed that Tehran under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty still had a right to enrich uranium for energy generation purposes.

"I have the impression that some nuclear powers want to create a nuclear fuel cartel," he said. "I am against nuclear apartheid."

DPA

Subject: German news

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