[Marxism] Iran to go ahead with nuclear process US and Europe seek to forbid
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed May 11 20:15:07 MDT 2005
I have a sense that across Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East,
governments are getting bolder about telling Washington where to stick
Defiant Iran plans nuclear revival
Ewen MacAskill and Robert Tait in Tehran
Wednesday May 11, 2005
The Iranian government threatened to provoke a full-blown international
crisis yesterday by confirming that it is to resume its suspended
A British Foreign Office spokesman said such a move would automatically
halt two years of negotiations between Tehran and the European trio -
Britain, France and Germany - and see immediate referral to the United
Nations security council. Sanctions could follow and bring a dangerous
standoff between the US, backed by Israel, and Iran.
The US, in a view shared by Europe and Israel, suspects Iran is covertly
trying to secure a nuclear weapon. Iran claims it only wants nuclear
power for civil purposes.
Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, said
yesterday: "The decision to resume some activities has been taken and
now we are discussing the timing for resuming. But this decision is
imminent as well." Twenty-four hours earlier, he said a decision would
be made "within days".
While still expressing hope that this was brinkmanship, a western
diplomat said he feared that this time the Iranians were not bluffing.
Another western diplomat, based in Tehran, said Iran was in danger of
miscalculating international resolve.
Talks in London between Iranian officials and their European
counterparts broke up last month without progress. A western diplomat
close to the London negotiations said they had been "far from
Mr Saeedi, who attended the London negotiations, replied in the
affirmative yesterday when asked if Iran would break seals placed by the
International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), the UN watchdog, at the
uranium conversion facility in Isfahan.
The facility converts uranium into a gas which can then be used for
uranium enrichment, a necessary requirement for a bomb.
The Iranian government is working on an assumption that conversion of
uranium to gas does not amount to enrichment and, therefore, will not be
in breach of its Paris agreement with the Europeans in the autumn.
But a Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday: "We have said that if the
Iranians do resume activity on their uranium conversion facility at
Isfahan, that would breach the Paris agreement.
"Our position has been absolutely clear from the beginning that we would
have no other option but to refer it to the security council."
When Washington expressed suspicion two years ago that Iran may have
covertly engaged in a nuclear weapons programme, the US and Israel urged
instant referral to the security council and was sceptical when the
Europeans opted for negotiation.
George Bush softened his position in February, signalling support for
talks, though warning that if these failed, the matter would have to go
to the security council.
Mr Bush's power to tackle nuclear proliferation is also being challenged
by North Korea, where an official was reported by the Wall Street
Journal yesterday to have hinted that the country could test an atomic
The western diplomat in Tehran said that if Iran does resume the
conversion process, Iran could be hauled "very swiftly" before the
security council. "It's important from our point of view that they know
what the results of implementing the threats in this instance would be."
The next stage would be for Iran to notify formally the IAEA that it
intended to resume the conversion process.
The renewed tension comes after a period of increasingly hostile
anti-western rhetoric from senior Iranian figures. Last week, Iran's
supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran's nuclear programme
was not the business of the western powers.
At the same time, in a move intended to placate western opinion,
officials said they were preparing to bring a bill before the Majlis,
the Iranian parliament, to ratify an additional protocol to the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty. The protocol would allow stiffer international
monitoring of Iran's nuclear activities.
Guardian Unlimited C Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005
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