Iran resumes nuclear research
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Iran resumed full atomic fuel research today, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced, adding that "the research will involve small-scale enrichment of uranium, usable in power plants or weapons."
"There is a difference between research and producing nuclear fuel ... The production of nuclear fuel is still under suspension," said Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation.
The United States has said that any enrichment of uranium would be a "serious escalation." A spokesman also stated that Iran risks referral to the UN's Security Council, which could impose sanctions, if it pursues its current nuclear course.
British Foreign Secretary said the conflict with Iran would need to be resolved through diplomatic means and that "military action is not on our agenda."
Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, told the 35-nation governing board that "Iran intended to carry out limited uranium enrichment at its Natanz facility, where it broke UN seals as IAEA inspectors watched."
"Iran plans to install a small-scale gas ultracentrifuge cascade in its pilot fuel enrichment plant at Natanz," said a Western diplomat, reading from ElBaradei's report.
European diplomats have said that they will hold an emergency IAEA meeting to consider referringto the UN for further action and or sanctions. The United States said "this now looks inevitable."
Tehran denies wanting nuclear technology for anything but civilian energy programs to satisify the countries "booming" demand for electricity.
Western powers disregard Iran's claim and say that "Iran is to refrain from any work that could help it develop atomic weapons." The EU said Iran's latest action was "eroding international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program".
In Berlin, German Foreign Minister warned that by removing the seals of its atomic plants, Tehran had "crossed a line". Steinmeier said "that the Iranians knew they would face consequences as a result of their action". He also added that he hopes Tehran would return to a "path of reason".
Iranian news network Khabar reported that the Iranian parliament backed the decision by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to resume the research work, terming it a "source of national pride".
The White House said that if Iran continues on its current nuclear course, it will leave theno choice but to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council for possible actions.