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Shammu
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« on: February 26, 2006, 06:26:52 PM »

Iran says it agrees basic nuclear deal with Russia
Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:23 AM ET171

 By Paul Hughes and Parisa Hafezi

BUSHEHR, Iran (Reuters) - Iran has reached a "basic" agreement with Russia on jointly enriching uranium, officials said on Sunday -- but there was no immediate sign that it would suspend home-grown enrichment to allay fears that it is developing nuclear weapons.

It was unclear what this basic agreement involved and both Russian and Iranian officials identified serious obstacles to a full deal.

These principally concerned a suspension of Tehran's home-grown uranium enrichment work, the main demand of Western powers who are threatening to press for UN sanctions.

The original Russian proposal had been for Iran's uranium to be enriched in Russia to defuse suspicions that Iran might divert some nuclear fuel into a weapons program.

However, Iran has always insisted upon its right to enrich the uranium it mines in its central desert on its own soil, and it was unclear how the original Russian proposal could be tailored to please Tehran.

"Regarding this joint venture, we have reached a basic agreement. Talks to complete this package will continue in coming days in Russia," Iranian nuclear chief Gholamreza Aghazadeh told reporters in the Iranian port town of Bushehr.

But Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's atomic energy agency, speaking at a news conference with Aghazadeh, said Iran still had to take "serious steps" before the deal could be completed.

He did not specify what these would be, but an unnamed Russian official in Bushehr told Interfax news agency that the deal could only go ahead if Iran suspended its own uranium enrichment -- something it has repeatedly refused to do.

IRAN WANTS ENRICHMENT AT HOME

Aghazadeh also stipulated that Iran would be setting an unspecified "precondition" to the deal.

One EU diplomat said this precondition was almost certain to be Tehran insisting upon its right to enrich its own uranium.

"Their idea of accepting the Russian proposal is to be able to enrich in Russia and Iran, not just Russia," he told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Europe and Washington have said they could not accept such a compromise.

Iran has already been reported to the UN Security Council -- which has the power to impose sanctions -- after failing to convince the world that its nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful. Tehran flatly denies trying to develop nuclear arms.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign relations committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said the chances of an agreement were about 50-50.

"(Tehran) is now using the tactic of dragging out talks as long as possible. I do not think we can expect Iran to clarify its position any time soon. I would rather suggest that this will not happen before March 6," he told Interfax.

March 6 is the date when the board of the United Nations' watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meets to discuss the IAEA's latest report on Iran's nuclear program.

The report may determine whether the United States and European powers push the Security Council to impose sanctions.

Diplomats said the talk of an agreement could be an attempt to soften the IAEA report. Kiriyenko said the issue could still be solved without Security Council referral.

"There are solutions to resolve Iran's issue within the framework of the IAEA," he said in Bushehr, where Iran is building its first nuclear power station with Russian help.

Aghazadeh said Iran would formally invite tenders in a month for contracts to build two further 1,000 megawatt power stations in Bushehr, and that Russian applications would be welcome.

Iran says it agrees basic nuclear deal with Russia
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2006, 06:28:36 PM »

February 26, 2006

UN nuclear watchdog accuses Iran of making fuel for bombs

Peter Conradi
IRAN is believed to have begun small-scale enrichment of uranium, raising the stakes in its dispute with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the extent of its nuclear ambitions.

A report to be published by the United Nations nuclear watchdog tomorrow is expected to claim that scientists at Iran’s plant in Natanz have set up a “cascade” of 10 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium — the fuel for nuclear power plants or bombs.

Iran is a long way from the 50,000 centrifuges it would need for full-scale enrichment, but experts said that getting a small number of them to work together meant it had overcome some technical hurdles.

The report, by Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the IAEA, will also accuse Tehran of continuing to deny inspectors access to crucial people and sites linked to its 20-year-old nuclear programme.

ElBaradei’s findings will set the tone for discussions at the UN security council next month which American officials believe could lead to sanctions against Iran this summer.

Tehran’s relations with the international community hit a low point this month when the IAEA voted overwhelmingly to report it to the security council, expressing doubts that its nuclear programme was “exclusively for peaceful purposes”.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country’s volatile president, responded by vowing to resume “commercial scale” enrichment, suspended in 2004.

International concerns over Iran’s intentions have been increased by the emergence in recent weeks of documents that for the first time appear to provide scraps of evidence of a covert weapons programme.

Attention is focusing on the so-called Green Salt Project, a previously undeclared scheme to process uranium. The project was linked to tests on high explosives and missile design, suggesting a “military nuclear dimension”, the IAEA said. Inspectors travelled to Tehran this weekend to obtain more information.

It is thought that some of the clandestine work was done at a plant in Lavisan, near Tehran, under the auspices of a body known as the Physics Research Centre. Iran denied IAEA inspectors access to Lavisan until 2004 by which time the buildings had been demolished.

Tehran is believed to have persisted in its refusal to allow inspectors to interview up to five research centre officials. “This is a shame because we believe these are high-ranking military officials actively involved in a nuclear weapons programme,” said a US official.

Diplomatic efforts have continued to persuade Tehran to agree not to enrich uranium itself but to be supplied with the material by Russia. Iran wants to be allowed to conduct some enrichment on its territory.

UN nuclear watchdog accuses Iran of making fuel for bombs
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2006, 01:42:42 AM »

 Iran determined to acquire nuclear know-how: diplomat
Vienna, Feb 26, IRNA

Iran-Switzerland-Cooperation
Iran is determined to acquire peaceful nuclear know-how based on diplomatic norms and the nation's will, an Iranian diplomat said on Saturday.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Europe and American Affairs, Saeed Jalili, currently in Switzerland at the invitation of Swiss officials, met with chairman of of Switzerland's Parliamentary Foreign Policy Commission.

He pointed to Iran's confidence-building measures, saying, "Unfortunately, all these measures have been ignored."
Jalili said Iran stresses settlement of the Palestinian issue through diplomatic means, adding Tehran believes sustainable peace would be established in the region through return of refugees to their homeland and holding a referendum to determine the country's future government.

The Swiss official, for his part, said his country is quite independent from international political decision making and would not be influenced by any country.

He pointed to the West's incorrect evaluation of the Middle East problems and said the world is turning into a multipolar system which would prepare suitable ground for cooperation.

He expressed his country's willingness to expand parliamentary cooperation with Iran.

Meanwhile, in a meeting between Jalili and senior fellow of the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), Arnold Luethold, the two sides explored grounds for cooperation in various fields of research.

Luethold said the DCAF is responsible for study and providing strategic projects on new security approaches.

He outlined the DCAF cooperation with over 50 states including the Middle East countries such as Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He pointed to Iran's key role in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf regions and expressed his center's readiness to conduct studies on sustainable security and stability in cooperation with regional states.

Iran determined to acquire nuclear know-how: diplomat
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2006, 11:05:33 PM »

Mar. 4, 2006 2:16
EU may allow Iran to enrich uranium
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Iran and the European Union inched toward a compromise Friday that diplomats said would allow Tehran to run a scaled-down version of a uranium enrichment program with potential for misuse to develop atomic weapons.

The development was significant because the Europeans and the United States have for years opposed allowing Iran any kind of enrichment capability - a stance that Russia, China and other influential nations have embraced in recent months.

Top European officials - including the foreign ministers of France and Germany - publicly described talks Friday in Vienna as failing because of Tehran's refusal to reimpose a freeze on enrichment.

"Unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters. He said the EU continues to demand "full and complete suspension" of uranium enrichment and related activities that have fed fears that Iran may be pursuing nuclear arms.

Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the meeting ended, after just over two hours, "without achieving a result."

But diplomats familiar with the talks told The Associated Press that after months of deadlock, the two sides explored possible agreement by discussing plans that essentially would allow Iran small-scale enrichment after reimposing its freeze for an undefined period.

The compromise would serve Iran, the European Union and Russia by allowing all of them to say they had achieved their main goals.

Iran would be able to run a program it insists it has a right to under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if it is only on a research basis instead of the full-scale enrichment.

The Europeans, who since 2004 have negotiated for Iran to scrap enrichment, could tolerate small-scale enrichment if Iran first agrees to their key demand - a freeze to re-establish confidence.

Moscow could benefit diplomatically and economically if Iran accepts its plan to move its enrichment program to Russia - except for activities defined as research and development that all sides agree on under any compromise plan.

One of the diplomats - who demanded anonymity in exchange for divulging the substance of the confidential discussion - said the impetus came from Moscow, which has taken the lead in talking to Iran since talks with the Europeans collapsed late last year.

He said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was to float the compromise plan in Washington on Monday and Tuesday to gauge American reaction.

Consensus on such a compromise by the Russians, Europeans and Iranians could leave the Americans with two unpalatable choices.

If Washington accepts the plan, it essentially leaves Iran in a position to develop technology that it could use to make fissile uranium for warheads.

If it refuses, it again could face diplomatic near-isolation on what to do about Iran after months of building the kind of international consensus that last month led the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board to put the UN Security Council on alert about Iran's suspect nuclear program.

By depriving the Iranians of domestic control of enrichment, the Russian plan - backed by most in the international community including the US and the Europeans - is meant to eliminate the danger that Tehran might misuse it to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

Small-scale enrichment under a compromise would deprive Iran of the chance to run the thousands of centrifuges needed to enrich in sufficient amounts to give them material for multiple weapons. But it would allow them to perfect the methodology, should they later decide to start industrial-scale enrichment.

Iran restarted some enrichment activities last month, two years after voluntarily freezing the program during talks with the Europeans. Those talks unraveled late last year.

A report last week by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei showed Iran testing centrifuges - machines that spin uranium gas into enriched uranium.

And just a few months down the road, "commencement of the installation of the first 3,000 ... (centrifuges) is planned for the fourth quarter of 2006," the report said.

Experts estimate that Iran already has enough black-market components in storage to build the 1,500 operating centrifuges it would need to make the 20 kilograms (45 pounds) of highly enriched uranium needed for one crude weapon.

Tehran insists it wants enrichment only to generate electricity and that it does not seek nuclear arms, but a growing number of nations share US fears that that is not the case.

While Russia backed alerting the Security Council to Iran, it remains reluctant to press for tough action against Tehran, an economic and strategic partner. Lavrov said Friday that permanent council members were not united on a course of action.

"There is no collectively discussed and agreed strategy of what we all will be doing in the Security Council if the issue is there," Lavrov told foreign reporters, hinting at his country's opposition to increasing pressure on Tehran.

The IAEA's board is to discuss the Iran issue at a meeting beginning Monday, including the ElBaradei report. The board notified the UN Security Council Feb. 4, after Iran refused to heed requests to maintain a suspension on enrichment.

There had been little hope the Vienna meeting would achieve a breakthrough. Both sides had made clear before that they would not move from their positions; the Europeans demanded Tehran freeze all enrichment activities and Iran insisted it would not.

A Russian nuclear agency official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, confirmed the Moscow talks remained snagged over the same issue - Iran's refusal to freeze enrichment at home.

Still, Lavrov hinted at the chances of compromise detailed to the AP, saying Friday that a deal with Iran was still possible before the IAEA meeting.

"There always is an opportunity to reach an agreement," the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying in Moscow.

In Vienna, ElBaradei said he was "hopeful" of a negotiated solution after meeting with Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, while the Iranian representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, described the talks with the Europeans as "fruitful."

EU may allow Iran to enrich uranium

My note; And so my brothers, and sisters, it looks like it's happening soon...........
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2006, 08:09:14 AM »

I think it's a pretty safe bet that Iran has Nuclear weapons already, and now it looks like the U.N. is backing down on demands that Iran freeze enrichment of it's homegrown uranium out of pure fear.

Yes, the curtain is about to fall my friends.

Thanks Dreamweaver for yet another piece of fantastic detective work in sniffing out the juicy stories.

Bronzy
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2006, 10:39:30 PM »

Iran Issues Warning Ahead of IAEA Meeting

By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer 17 minutes ago

VIENNA, Austria - Iran threatened on Sunday to embark on full-scale uranium enrichment if the U.N. nuclear agency presses for action over its atomic program, and a top U.S. diplomat warned the Islamic republic of possible "painful consequences."

The comments came as the International Atomic Energy Agency's board prepared to meet Monday to discuss referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council, but delegates said whatever step the council might take would stop far short of sanctions.

John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday there was an urgent need to confront Iran's "clear and unrelenting drive" for nuclear weapons.

Iran "must be made aware that if it continues down the path of international isolation, there will be tangible and painful consequences," Bolton told the conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

But Iran's government cautioned that putting the issue before the Security Council would hurt efforts to resolve the dispute diplomatically.

"If Iran's nuclear dossier is referred to the U.N. Security Council, (large-scale) uranium enrichment will be resumed," Iran's top negotiator, Ali Larijani, told reporters in Tehran. "If they want to use force, we will pursue our own path."

He said Iran had exhausted "all peaceful ways" and that if demands were made contrary to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the nation "will resist."

Larijani said Iran will not abandon nuclear research, or back down from pursuing an atomic program that Tehran insists has the sole purpose of generating electricity with nuclear reactors.

IAEA delegates suggested the U.N. agency's board will not push for confrontation with Iran and said any initial decisions by the Security Council based on the outcome of the meeting will be mild.

They said the most likely action from the council would be a statement urging Iran to resume its freeze on uranium enrichment — an activity that can make both reactor fuel and the core of nuclear warheads — and to increase cooperation with the IAEA's probe of the Iranian program.

Even such a mild step could be weeks down the road.

Still, it would formally begin council involvement with Iran's nuclear file, starting a process that could escalate and culminate with political and economic sanctions — although such action for now is opposed by Russia and China, which can veto Security Council actions.

Bolton said a failure by the Security Council to address Iran would "do lasting damage to the credibility of the council."

"The longer we wait to confront the threat Iran poses," Bolton said, "the harder and more intractable it will become to solve."

Russia and China share the concerns of the United States, France and Britain — the three other permanent council members with veto power — that Iran could misuse enrichment for an arms program.

But both have economic and strategic ties with Tehran. While they voted with the majority of IAEA board members at a Feb. 4 meeting to alert the council to suspicions about Iran's nuclear aims, they insisted the council do nothing until after this week's IAEA meeting in Vienna.

Russia is unlikely to agree to strong action while it negotiates with Iran on a plan that would move Tehran's enrichment program to Russian territory as a way of increasing international monitoring and reducing the chances for misuse in arms work.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due in Washington and New York this week to discuss the status of those talks with Bush administration officials and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Both Tehran and Moscow have said new talks are planned; diplomats in Vienna, who demanded anonymity in return for discussing the situation, said no dates had been set.

In Tehran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran could reach an agreement with Russia or the
European Union within hours, but did not elaborate. Iran rejected an EU proposal last fall to end enrichment in return for the West providing reactor fuel and economic aid.

Past IAEA board meetings have ended with resolutions taking Iran to task for hindering investigations into a nuclear program that was kept secret for nearly 18 years and more recently urging it to reimpose a freeze on enrichment.

The Feb. 4 resolution asked IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei to report those concerns and others to the Security Council and to formally hand over the complete Iran file to the council. It also asked him to provide the council with his latest report, drawn up for Monday's IAEA meeting.

That report, made available to The Associated Press last week, said Iran appeared determined to expand uranium enrichment, planning to start setting up thousands of uranium-enriching centrifuges this year.

Iran Issues Warning Ahead of IAEA Meeting
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« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2006, 12:56:43 PM »

Iran, EU on verge of deal
By Yossi Melman and Amos Harel

Tehran and the European Union appear poised to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program that would obviate the need for sanctions, diplomats affiliated with the International Atomic Energy Agency told Haaretz last night.

But a senior Israeli defense official was skeptical about the tentative agreement, saying it appeared to be just another Iranian effort to buy time to advance its nuclear program.

Under the emerging deal, Iran would declare a moratorium on most uranium enrichment, and would instead receive slightly enriched uranium suitable for civilian usage from Russia. However, it would be allowed to continue operating a cascade of some 20 centrifuges that it restarted at its Natanz facility about two months ago.

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Such a small cascade would make it virtually impossible for Iran to enrich sufficient uranium for a nuclear weapon. Nevertheless, many experts, especially in Israel, argue that allowing Iran to operate even a small cascade would enable it to work out all the technical bugs of uranium enrichment, after which it could begin large-scale production in secret. Thus, the proposal still enables Tehran to move forward with its nuclear program, the senior Israeli official said, and therefore, Israel would prefer to see the UN Security Council impose sanctions.

Until recently, this was also the European and U.S. position: Last Friday, when an Iranian negotiator raised a virtually identical proposal at a meeting with senior French, British and German officials, the Europeans, backed by the U.S., rejected it. The EU said that Iran must completely cease uranium enrichment, while Larijani said that Iran would accept a temporary moratorium on large-scale enrichment, but insisted on being allowed to proceed with research into the enrichment process.

Now, however, the Europeans and United States appear to have reversed themselves. At the opening session of the IAEA's board of governors' meeting yesterday, agency director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that he was very hopeful that an agreement would be reached in the coming week, and even U.S. officials struck an unusually conciliatory note on Iran in their briefing for reporters yesterday.

The board is scheduled to discuss Iran's nuclear program today. In light of the negotiations, however, this discussion may be postponed.

Iran, EU on verge of deal
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 01:11:54 AM »

U.S.: Iran Uranium Enrichment Unacceptable

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer Tue Mar 7, 9:28 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration drew a hard line on Iran Tuesday, warning of "meaningful consequences" if the Islamic government does not back away from an international confrontation over its disputed nuclear program.

Edging toward the U.N. Security Council review it has long sought, Washington rejected any potential 11th hour compromise that would allow Iran to process nuclear fuel that could be used for weapons.

Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States and other nations are agreed that "we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." He said, "The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences."

Speaking to the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, Cheney did not specify what the U.S. would do but said it "is keeping all options on the table." American officials have said the government has no plans for military force but will not rule it out.

The United States, Israel and several Arab nations fear development of an Iranian bomb would put Israel at risk or forever change the balance of power in the Middle East.

Russia, which has played middleman on Iran since the breakdown of talks between Tehran and European nations, reassured U.S. officials that it remains on board as the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency again took up the Iran case in Vienna. The Security Council could have full purview over the issue by week's end, but there is no timetable for action there.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is not seeking sanctions against Iran "as a first matter."

Russia has proposed a joint venture in which it would enrich uranium on Iran's behalf, keeping that critical component of the nuclear fuel process from potential misuse in Iran. The United States supports the plan in principle, but Iran has not signed on.

Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected the notion of a separate compromise that would see Iran suspend full-scale uranium enrichment for up to two years but retain a small enrichment program.

"The United States has been very clear that enrichment and reprocessing on Iranian soil is not acceptable because of the proliferation risk," Rice said.

A diplomat told The Associated Press that Iran made the suspension offer during talks in Moscow last week. The offer reflected Tehran's attempts to escape Security Council action over the enrichment, which can be used to make nuclear arms. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was confidential.

"There is no compromise new Russian proposal," Lavrov said.

Russia, which has veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council, is perhaps Tehran's most important ally and business partner. Russia has gone along with U.S. efforts to refer the nuclear issue to the council but has never said it would support sanctions or other harsh punishment there.

"Have you seen a proposal for any sanctions?" Lavrov snapped at reporters following an Oval Office meeting with
President Bush on Tuesday. "This is a hypothetical question, yes?"

At the State Department earlier, Lavrov appeared to warn the United States not to push Iran so hard that it withdraws from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or kicks out international inspectors.

The treaty allows for some U.N. oversight of a nascent nuclear program that Iran says is meant to one day produce nuclear energy, not bombs. The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has accused Iran of violating the treaty and concealing the extent of its nuclear activities. A possible Security Council rebuke could be based on those findings, along with anything new that inspectors turn up.

"In our view, any solution should take into account the desirability, very high desirability, to continue to investigate into the past program of Iran so that all the questions which the international community has could be answered by the experts," Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Rice.

He spoke in the midst of two days of intensive diplomacy that illustrated the power Russia can hold as a broker or spoiler in the Middle East.

The Bush administration also wanted Russian assurances that Moscow will not coddle Hamas now that the Islamic militants have taken control of the Palestinian legislature.

Lavrov held multiple meetings with Rice, and was accorded the kind of White House welcome usually reserved for foreign heads of state or government, not foreign ministers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Hamas leaders to Moscow last weekend, a move that angered Israel and surprised the United States and Russia's other partners in the so-called Quartet of Mideast negotiators.

The United States, European Union and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization. The United States wants international unity to pressure Hamas to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

"The Quartet is not divided," Lavrov said after his White House meeting. "The Quartet has the common position on Hamas."

U.S.: Iran Uranium Enrichment Unacceptable
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 01:15:09 AM »

Russia denies Iran nuclear proposal

By Mark Heinrich and Parisa Hafezi Tue Mar 7, 4:55 PM ET

VIENNA (Reuters) - Russia on Tuesday backed away from what EU diplomats said was a proposal to let Iran do some atomic research if it agreed to refrain from enriching uranium on an industrial scale for 7-9 years.

Russia abandoned the informal proposal, aimed at finding a compromise to the crisis over Iran's nuclear program, after Western rejection of the idea.

The United States and the European Union want Iran to shelve all work to enrich uranium because of suspicions that Tehran is secretly trying to make nuclear weapons.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said on Tuesday that Iran would be stopped from getting atomic bombs and faced "meaningful consequences" if it persists in defying calls to stop nuclear work which could lead to weapons.

In defying calls to halt all enrichment-related work, Iran seems to be counting on divisions in the U.N. Security Council over whether to resort to sanctions mooted by the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that he had made a new proposal to defuse a crisis over Iran's nuclear aspirations that the Security Council may soon tackle.

"There is no compromise new proposal," Lavrov said at a news conference with Rice, who added: "The Russians did not tell us of any new proposal ..."

EU diplomats said Russian officials informally raised the idea of a 7-9 year moratorium during consultations over the past week. U.S., British, French and German rejection came swiftly when word of the offer leaked on Tuesday.

"The Russians explored this idea with us," said a diplomat, who asked not to be identified, from one of the three EU states - Germany, France and Britain - working on the Iran issue, the so-called EU3.

The diplomat said when Lavrov "realized the EU3 and U.S. would not accept its elements, he decided to deny it to save face."

RUSSIA, WEST SHARED GOAL

In Moscow, a senior Kremlin aide said Russia shared the West's goal of keeping bomb-grade nuclear technology out of Iran but acknowledged it might be considering different approaches.

"There are divergences ... but the goal is a single one - that Iran should be a predictable partner and there is no threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Sergei Prikhodko told RIA Novosti news agency.

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), alluded to Moscow's reported formula when he held out hope on Monday for a deal to defuse the crisis without U.N. Security Council intervention against Iran. A council debate on Iran looms after an IAEA board meeting now in progress.

Iran says its nuclear program aims solely at generating electricity. But it concealed atomic research from the IAEA for 18 years and its calls for Israel's destruction alarm the West.

U.S. officials said any concession to let Iran feed uranium gas into a small cascade of centrifuges would inevitably give Tehran the know-how to make nuclear warheads.

Iran reacted coolly to reports of the Russian offer as well, with one diplomat saying Tehran could accept a two-year moratorium on industrial atomic fuel production, but not longer, in exchange for assurances it could do centrifuge research.

He said Iran's idea of research entailed running nearly 3,000 enrichment centrifuges, which the West would deem industrial-scale and could yield enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb in a year if operating at full capacity.

"Any moratorium of more than two years and any suspension of nuclear research activities (as the West demands) will make it difficult to reach a deal. The face-saving solution is to enrich uranium on a limited scale ... during the two years," he said.

While Moscow and Beijing also do not want Iran to acquire atom bomb technology, they want to protect big trade stakes with Tehran and could use their council vetoes to block sanctions.

Russia denies Iran nuclear proposal

My note; I'm sorry, I don't trust Russia, I remember the duck and cover drills.
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 03:13:50 AM »

You have very good reasons not to trust Russia as we have seen in much of our news and in what the Bible tells us.

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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2006, 01:37:44 PM »

I know brother, I was remembering back, when I was a kid.
You have very good reasons not to trust Russia as we have seen in much of our news and in what the Bible tells us.


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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2006, 05:46:17 PM »

Last update - 00:25 10/03/2006            
Western sources: Iran has covert nuclear channel
By Ze'ev Schiff, Haaretz Correspondent

In concurrence with growing diplomatic tension over Iran's nuclear program, on Thursday it emerged that intelligence services in the West are convinced that Iran is taking covert means to develop nuclear weapons, in addition to the nuclear program under the partial supervision of the IAEA. Russian intelligence is believed to agree with this assessment.

According to the IAEA interim report from late February, a document was found that alludes to Iranian attempts to create the components of an atomic bomb.

Speaking a day after it became clear that the UN Security Council would take up Iran's nuclear case, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Tehran would not be bullied or humiliated.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors decided Wednesday to hand the Iranian nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council, which is expected to start deliberations next week.

Russia was quick to respond, as its foreign minister hinted Thursday that the move might have been too hasty.

Western countries are vulnerable
According to the Iranian president, Western countries are vulnerable and would suffer more than Iran if they continued to try to impede its attempts to develop nuclear technology, local media reported

"They (Western countries) know that they are not capable of inflicting the slightest blow on the Iranian nation because they need the Iranian nation," the semi-official ISNA students news agency quoted him as saying in a speech in western Iran.

"They will suffer more and they are vulnerable," he said, without elaborating.

"Our enemies will never succeed in forcing the Iranian nation to step back on its rights over peaceful nuclear technology because it never accepts humiliation," state television quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

"This nation ... will not allow others to treat it with a bullying attitude, even if those who treat it with a bullying attitude are international bullies," he added, ISNA reported.

Russia: UN referral 'too hasty'
Russia's top diplomat criticized efforts to bring Iran and its disputed nuclear program before the U.N. Security Council, suggesting that the United States was too eager to take the issue out of the hands of the world body's nuclear watchdog.

In an interview broadcast Thursday on Russian state television, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Iran's referral to the Security Council an attempt to portray the International Atomic Energy Agency as unable to influence Tehran.

"This move is detrimental, and not one real problem can be decided with such a move," he said.

"We don't want to be the ones to remind (everyone) who was right and who was not in Iraq, although the answer is obvious," he said.

Nuclear arms developed in covert facilities
The intelligence assessments in the West reflect the conclusions that have been drawn in the past few years in the United States, Europe and Israel. Until now, most of the publications about Iran's nuclear program mentioned sites in Isfahan, Natanz, Arak and Tehran. The intelligence sources say these belong to the acknowledged part of the program and claim there is a secondary, smaller covert channel that is making steady progress toward creating a nuclear weapon for Iran.

A few intelligence services reportedly have information about these secret plants. Experts say that some of the facilities are about the same size as the secret structures built by the Pakistanis as part of their nuclear weapons program.

Some of the evidence of Iran's secret activities was mentioned in the IAEA's interim reports in recent months. The most suspicious item is a document found in Iranian possession that includes technical details about casting enriched and depleted uranium into hemispheres. This casting process is associated specifically with nuclear weapons production, as stated in the IAEA interim report of February 27. The report added that that existence of the document is disturbing.

According to experts, the document is unequivocal proof that Iran's nuclear project is involved in weapons production.

When asked by IAEA inspectors about the document, the Iranians declared that it had come from Pakistan but that they had never used it. The source of the document, as well as the centrifuges that Iran uses to enrich uranium, is apparently the network established by Pakistani nuclear arms pioneer Abdul Khader Khan, who admitted to assisting a number of Islamic countries with their nuclear programs.

Iran repeatedly refused to give the document, or a copy of it, to the IAEA.


The clandestine facility in Tehran's suburbs called Lavizan-Shian is another element attesting to Iran's nuclear ambitions. The site contains a nuclear development facility that was seen on the satellite photographs of IAEA and a number of states. The images revealed evidence of new excavation activity designed to conceal the underground facility. Later photographs showed only trees and gardens there.

Iran admitted to the West that a project is being carried out at the site, which it said was aimed at researching anti-nuclear defensive measures. At some point it became clear that the Iranian Defense Ministry had sold the facility to a private company, but control was transferred back to the ministry soon after. IAEA officials who asked to meet the facility's director were introduced to a university professor.

The uranium mine in Gauchin provides additional proof of the clandestine nuclear program. In the 1990s, Iranian publications announced that the mine was transferred from the Iranian Energy Committee to a private company. A few years later, a transfer back to the IEC - in effect, the Defense Ministry - was announced. The IAEA suspects that the private company is connected to the state military establishment.

The advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment that the Iranians are thought to possess are another part of the evidence. It is known that Iran purchased P1 centrifuges, made of aluminum. IAEA inspectors found documents on the faster and more advanced P2 centrifuges. The Iranians told the inspectors that they had not purchased the centrifuges. However, there is proof that Iran did buy a large number of magnets used in the P2 models.

The Iranians admitted about three years ago to separating small quantities of plutonium, which is clearly associated with atomic arms development. (The materials needed to build an atomic bomb can be acquired either by enriching uranium or by producing plutonium.)

Inspectors who examined the plutonium concluded, judging from the amounts found, that the Iranians must have started creating the plutonium in the mid-1990s and not three years ago.

Iran's clandestine Green Salt Project is another element in its nuclear program. The conversion of uranium dioxide into UF4 which takes the appearance of green crystals is a stage in the conversion of uranium ore into the UF6 gas, which is then placed into the centrifuges for enrichment. The IAEA stated that it is still waiting for convincing explanations from the Iranians about the uranium conversion, which is used to produce nuclear weapons.

The IAEA is mainly concerned with the manufacturing and supervision of nuclear materials. It does not concern itself with the development of ground-to-ground missiles, for example, which could carry a nuclear warhead.

In the past year, U.S. intelligence has provided the IAEA with blueprints of an Iranian warhead that could carry a nuclear weapon. This is additional evidence of the covert program.

The IAEA does not deal with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), to which both Israel and Iran are signatories. Israel followed CTBT directives and built two seismic stations to monitor for nuclear tests. Iran has not built the monitoring stations it is obligated to put into place.

The covert channel gives Iran a redundant system in the event of an attack on the country, but also gives it a way to give up its nuclear program ostensibly while continuing work secretly. This will be difficult if it returns to implementing the Additional Protocol allowing IAEA inspectors to carry out snap inspections anywhere in the country.

Western sources: Iran has covert nuclear channel
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2006, 12:09:54 AM »

Iranian Rejects Proposal, Angering Russia

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer Sun Mar 12, 3:59 PM ET

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran ruled out a Russian proposal aimed at easing tensions over its nuclear program Sunday, drawing criticism from a senior lawmaker in Moscow who said the decision destroyed the last chance for compromise before the
U.N. Security Council takes on the issue this week.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also warned that Iran is considering large-scale uranium enrichment at home as a response to the International Atomic Energy Agency's decision to refer Tehran to the Security Council.

However, Tehran did back away from a threat to use oil as an economic weapon if the council should impose sanctions.

Russia had sought to persuade Iran to move its enrichment program to Russian territory, which would allow closer international monitoring. Iran reached basic agreement with Moscow on the plan, but the details were never worked out.

"The Russian proposal is not on our agenda any more," Asefi told reporters. "Circumstances have changed. We have to wait and see how things go with the five veto-holding countries (on the council)."

The comments effectively meant the Russian proposal was dead after the nuclear watchdog agency referred Iran to the Security Council, which can impose political and economic sanctions, last week.

"We are not afraid of the Security Council. What is important for us is defending our legitimate rights," Asefi said. "Iran is a powerful country and is able to defend its interests."

In Moscow, Konstantin Kosachev, the head of international affairs committee of the lower house of parliament, harshly criticized Iran, saying the decision meant the end of chances for a compromise on the issue, according to Russian news reports.

Kosachev also warned Tehran that its refusal to continue talks on the Russian offer could "radicalize" the Security Council debate on the issue.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies any intention to build weapons, saying it only aims to produce energy.

A Western diplomat, who insisted on anonymity in detailing the confidential discussions, said a new meeting among the permanent council members — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — was planned Monday to look at a revised draft statement. The text was aimed at pressuring Tehran to resolve questions about its nuclear program, including demands that it abandon uranium enrichment.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran had no intention to use oil as a weapon in the confrontation, contradicting a statement a day earlier by Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to continue to provide Asia with the oil it needs as a reliable and effective source of energy and will not use oil as a foreign policy instrument," he said at a conference on energy and security issues in Tehran.

Iran is the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, after Saudi Arabia. It also has partial control of the narrow Straits of Hormuz, a key route for most of the crude oil shipped from the Persian Gulf nations to world markets.

Tehran, which only has an experimental nuclear research program, repeatedly has warned it will begin large-scale uranium enrichment if referred it the Security Council, which occurred last week.

Asefi suggested Tehran would wait for the outcome of the Security Council meetings to make a decision on whether to start large-scale enrichment, which scientists say would take months to do.

"Regarding industrial scale uranium enrichment, we are going to wait for two, three days," he said.

Uranium enriched to a low level produces fuel that can be used in a nuclear reactor, while higher enrichment produces the material needed for a warhead.

Iran has insisted it will never give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel. It restarted research-scale uranium enrichment last month, two years after voluntarily freezing the program during talks with Germany, Britain and France.

Mottaki, the foreign minister, also reiterated a veiled warning that Iran may consider withdrawing from the NPT if its right to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel is not respected.

"If we reach a point that the existing rules don't meet the right of the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran may reconsider policies," he said.

A report last week by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran was testing centrifuges, which spin uranium gas into enriched uranium, and had plans to begin installation of the first 3,000 centrifuges late this year. Iran will need to install about 60,000 centrifuges for a large-scale enrichment of uranium.

Iranian Rejects Proposal, Angering Russia
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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2006, 12:42:59 PM »

Russia, Iran to Talk Further This Week

By JUDITH INGRAM, Associated Press Writer 58 minutes ago

MOSCOW - Russia will hold another round of nuclear consultations shortly with Iran, which has rejected Moscow's demand to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday.

The Interfax news agency, citing an unidentified source in Russia's embassy in Tehran, said that the talks could take place in Moscow on Tuesday and Wednesday, and would be at the level of the deputy head of Iran's powerful National Security Council.

"Iran in the last day or two appealed to us again to hold consultations," Lavrov said at a briefing. "They will take place in the nearest future."

Earlier talks on Russia's offer to host the Iranian uranium enrichment program produced no results.

"We are very disappointed with the way Iran has been conducting itself in these negotiations, absolutely not helping those who want to provide for finding peaceful ways to resolve the whole situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program," Lavrov said.

Before the U.N. Security Council takes up the issue this week, a Western diplomat, who insisted on anonymity in detailing the confidential discussions, said a new meeting among the permanent council members — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — was planned Monday to look at a revised draft statement.

The text was aimed at pressuring Tehran to resolve questions about its nuclear program, including demands that it abandon uranium enrichment.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Iran's leaders are taking the country in the "wrong direction," repressing their own people and pursuing confrontation abroad.

But Straw also said Britain wants the Security Council to go one step at a time, leaving the door open to restart negotiations with Tehran if it reverses course and expresses a willingness to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

"If the Iranian regime chooses not to heed the concerns of the international community, it's going to damage the interests of the Iranian people," he said in a speech.

Western governments and organizations should try to reach out to Iranians to emphasize that the international community does not oppose Iran's civilian nuclear power program, only its alleged efforts to build a nuclear bomb, Straw said.

Earlier Monday, Moscow's atomic energy chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, said a Kremlin proposal to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian territory remains open. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi had said Sunday that Tehran would no longer consider the Russian proposal.

"Russia believes that Iran, like any other state, has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but the global community has the right to demand guarantees of nonproliferation. Russia has made its offer to combine these two positions," Kiriyenko said.

"The Russian proposal has and will remain, and it's not going to change. Attempts to extract just certain fragments of it won't work."

Russia has made its enrichment offer contingent on Tehran suspending its own enrichment effort, but Iranian officials have rejected the link.

The text was aimed at pressuring Tehran to resolve questions about its nuclear program, including demands that it abandon uranium enrichment.

Tehran, which only has an experimental nuclear research program, repeatedly has warned it will begin large-scale uranium enrichment if referred it the Security Council, which occurred last week.

Iran has insisted it will never give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel. It restarted research-scale uranium enrichment last month, two years after voluntarily freezing the program during talks with Germany, Britain and France.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Sunday reiterated a veiled warning that Iran may consider withdrawing from the NPT if its right to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel is not respected.

"If we reach a point that the existing rules don't meet the right of the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran may reconsider policies," he said.

A report last week by International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran was testing centrifuges, which spin uranium gas into enriched uranium, and had plans to begin installation of the first 3,000 centrifuges late this year. Iran will need to install about 60,000 centrifuges for a large-scale enrichment of uranium.

Iran insists its program is designed only to generate electricity, but the U.S. claims Tehran has been working to build a bomb for more than a decade. Britain and France are also skeptical of the Iranians, and the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, says it has serious questions about Iran's program.

In an interview with the daily Vremya Novostei, Lavrov also criticized the U.S. stance toward Tehran, accusing Washington of using the nuclear crisis "to solve some political tasks in their relations with the (current) regime."

Lavrov called again for the main players in the crisis — Russia, the United States, France, Germany, Britain and China — to meet with ElBaradei in Vienna and he insisted that the IAEA remain central to solving the crisis.

"But sometimes our Western partners propose acting according to this logic: since there's not clarity (in Iran's nuclear program) then let's put on pressure more quickly and impose sanctions," Lavrov said.

Russia, Iran to Talk Further This Week
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2006, 12:45:31 PM »

U.N. Security Council Deadlocked on Iran

By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer 59 minutes ago

UNITED NATIONS - The five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council are deadlocked over the best way to pressure Iran into clearing up questions about its nuclear program, U.N. diplomats said Monday.

The divide between Russia and China on one side and Britain, France and the United States on the other makes it less likely the council will take a tough stance against Iran when it convenes later this week to discuss the issue for the first time, the diplomats said.

Ambassadors from the five veto-wielding council members met early Monday for the third time to debate language for a council statement on the issue.

Britain and France, backed by the United States, have proposed that the council demand Iran abandon uranium enrichment — a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for an atomic bomb — and adhere to its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Russia and China fear that going that far in a statement — which Iran is not legally bound to obey — would make negotiations more difficult.

"I think that we want a constructive statement," China's Ambassador Wang Guangya told The Associated Press as he left the meeting. "I think they want to be too tough."

The United States believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon and says a strong Security Council statement will put new pressure on Tehran to abide by its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty. Russia and China, allies of Iran, say that council involvement will lead Iran to expel nuclear inspectors and leave the treaty entirely.

The council has the power to impose economic and political sanctions on Iran.

A U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Russians and Chinese showed little indication they would change their position or accept the proposals for wording a statement from the British, French and Americans.

The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the discussions, said Russia and China want the council only to underscore the primary role of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the
International Atomic Energy Agency, in handling the Iran issue.

The disagreement means the United States and its allies could elect to bypass the Security Council entirely in confronting Iran. Last week, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said a coalition might consider targeted sanctions if council action was not firm enough.

Despite the deadlock, Britain and France plan to circulate a draft text to the entire council Tuesday, the diplomat said. That is partly because other nations on the 15-member council have become increasingly angry about being excluded from the negotiations between the five veto-wielding members, the U.N. diplomat said.

Russia will hold another round of nuclear consultations shortly with Iran, which has rejected Moscow's demand to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday.

The Interfax news agency, citing an official in Russia's embassy in Tehran it did not identify, said the talks could take place in Moscow on Tuesday and Wednesday, and would be at the level of the deputy head of Iran's powerful National Security Council.

Underscoring just how cautiously Russia and China want to proceed, diplomats said there was even disagreement about how the council ought to ask the IAEA to report on Iran's compliance with its nuclear obligations.

Britain, France and the United States want the council to ask IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei to report back to it in a short timeframe — possibly as little as two weeks — on whether Iran has taken steps to answer questions about its nuclear intentions.

Russia and China believe Elbaradei should not deliver that report to the council but to the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors, which could then inform the council of its findings, Russia's Ambassador Andrey Denisov said.

That seemingly minor distinction could actually be heavy with meaning. By reporting to the IAEA board, Elbaradei would implicitly return the issue of Iran to that body and take it out of the hands of the council. In turn, that move could make future council action even less likely.

"We have common objectives, but as far as messages are concerned, we are in the process of discussing," Denisov said.

U.N. Security Council Deadlocked on Iran
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