France asks Iran for full stop on nuclear research
PARIS, Jan 3 (AFP) - France on Tuesday called on Iran to reverse its decision to restart nuclear research after a two-year suspension, and said Tehran should respond to the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“We would like Iran to abide by the suspension of all activities related to the enrichment and reprocessing (of uranium) as agreed in November 2004, which includes centrifuges and research,” foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei told reporters.
France, along with Britain and Germany, has led EU negotiations with Iran aimed at curbing its nuclear programme to ensure it cannot be used to produce weapons.
The deputy head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, Mohammad Saidi, said earlier Tuesday that his country would resume nuclear fuel research activities within the next few days, and that the IAEA had been notified.
Such a step would be certain to cause further strains with the European atomic negotiating partners, following Teheran’s insistence that it has a right to pursue enrichment.
Saidi did not specify exactly what the research concerned, but he made clear it was not linked to the production of nuclear fuel. Iran has maintained a suspension on its uranium enrichment operations since October 2003.
Mattei said that Paris was “asking Iran to take into account all the concerns expressed by the IAEA board of governors.”
He added that “it is up to the Iranians to adopt a constructive attitude and to make the necessary gestures to establish trust” and show its nuclear programme is for exclusively civilian purposes.
The spokesman also reaffirmed France’s support of a Russian proposition aimed at breaking a deadlock in the EU-Iran negotiations.
Moscow has suggested that a contentious uranium enrichment process be carried out in Russia instead of in Iran.
“These Russian ideas respond to the worries of the international community in terms of proliferation and, at the same time, give Iran the means to develop a pacific nuclear programme,” Mattei said. “One of the strong points of the Russian proposition in our view is that the enrichment activities would not be taking place on Iranian territory.”
Subject: French news