[Marxism] Iran starts treaty-legal u-processing at one plant -- break in negotiations, sanctions threatened

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Aug 9 06:15:47 MDT 2005

Atomic Activity Resumes in Iran Amid Warnings

Published: August 9, 2005
TEHRAN, Aug. 8 - Iran resumed sensitive nuclear activities at one of its
facilities on Monday, despite warnings from European negotiators that
the move would prompt them to refer the case to the United Nations
Security Council for punitive action.

With surveillance cameras from the International Atomic Energy Agency
installed, Iranian technicians at a facility outside Isfahan resumed the
intricate process of converting uranium that Iran says is intended to
yield energy but that the West worries is a precursor to the development
of nuclear weapons.

The United States and its European allies reacted with dismay to the
renewed activity, and left little doubt that they would take Iran to the
Security Council with a recommendation for economic sanctions if Iran
does not back down.

The State Department even held out the possibility that the United
States might deny a visa to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was sworn in
Saturday as Iran's president, to attend the United Nations General
Assembly in New York next month.

Iran has long contended that it has the legal right under the Nuclear
Nonproliferation Treaty to convert and enrich uranium for peaceful
energy purposes, but agreed to suspend its activities as long as
negotiations lasted with Britain, France and Germany over its nuclear
program. Iran has admitted to deceiving inspectors for 17 years about
many of its activities, and the United States argues that those
deceptions effectively negate its right to a full nuclear program and
that they provide a basis for international sanctions.

Concerned that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, European negotiators
put forward a proposal last week - with the support of the United States
- to provide Iran with economic, technological, security and political
incentives if it permanently abandoned its conversion and enrichment

But Iran rejected the proposal, saying the offer failed to meet its
"minimum expectations." Even before rebuffing the offer, Iran had asked
the agency to set up cameras at the facility so that it could resume its
nuclear program under international inspection, as the nonproliferation
treaty requires. 

Mohammad Saidi, vice president of Iran's Atomic Organization, who was at
the facility near Isfahan on Monday, said that Iran would like to
continue negotiating with Europe and that it intended to keep its freeze
on nuclear enrichment. 

Yet the facility began an earlier stage of the process, known as
conversion, the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported. Converting
uranium can lead to energy production or, ultimately, nuclear weapons. 

The French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, called the Iranian
actions "a grave crisis." Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, told
ARD television that the nuclear issue "will end up at the Security
Council if Iran does not give in."

European diplomats said Iran would be presented with an ultimatum during
a meeting of the agency's board of governors in Vienna on Tuesday: Cease
the uranium conversion, or face sanctions. Although no timetable has
been set for a response, officials and diplomats said the issue would
probably be taken up during the United Nations meeting in September.

The three European nations that have been negotiating with Iran for two
years, along with the European Union, threatened last week to end the
talks should Iran resume its nuclear development. The European diplomats
said they would follow through on that threat if Iran did not respond
positively to the last-chance ultimatum that is to be issued after the
meeting in Vienna.

"It definitely will end the negotiations," a European diplomat said. He
and others declined to be identified before a formal position is taken
at the meeting.

A senior Bush administration official said the United States would
support a motion for United Nations sanctions, should Iran not back
down. Adam Ereli, a State Department spokesman, said "this is Iran
thumbing its nose at a productive approach" by the Europeans. "We'll
have to work together to take a response."
Rest of article: www.nytimes.com

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