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U.N. to begin forming response to Iranian nuclear program

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

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A meeting set for Tuesday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could be a move closer to a showdown at the United Nations over the Iranian plan to resume uranium conversion at its Isfahan nuclear facility.

Iran on Monday refused the weekend offer by the European Union (EU) of economic incentives that included help with nuclear-energy generation. The EU, led by Britain and France, both of which in May 2005 [1] were considered to have violated the first pillar of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by failing to make serious efforts to dismantle their nuclear bomb stockpiles (preamble and Article VI of the treaty), and Germany, combined the offer with an exchange for Iran to verifiably give up all activities that could lead to a nuclear bomb.

Iranian officials insist their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and say it is part of Iran's right to develop nuclear power, as is legally agreed to in the third pillar of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which gives all states the right to peacefully use nuclear technology. "The proposals are unacceptable," Hossein Moussavian said. "They negate Iran's inalienable right," said the top Iranian nuclear negotiator.

The Iranian refusal, coming from under the new leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would probably trigger the referral of Iran to the UN Security Council.

Iran began uranium conversion shortly after IAEA inspectors installed cameras and other surveillance equipment at their nuclear facility. The facility carried out an early stage of the fuel cycle, which includes turning raw uranium (yellowcake) into gas. France and Britain condemned Iran's actions.

The IAEA sealed sensitive equipment at Iran's uranium conversion facility at Isfahan and its uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, as part of Tehran's earlier compliance with a Paris agreement. An Al-Jazeera report said the IAEA seals on the plants' sensitive equipment was recently removed.

In a IAEA statement issued Monday, Reuters reports, "It should be noted that the sealed parts of the process line remain intact."

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