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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2004, 02:32:40 PM »

Iran Boasts of Victory Over U.S. on Nuclear Case

1 hour, 52 minutes ago

By Paul Hughes

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran boasted on Tuesday it had defeated U.S. efforts to send its nuclear case to the U.N. Security Council while warning that its uranium enrichment freeze would only last for a few months.

Reuters Photo

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Slideshow    Slideshow: Iran Nuclear Issues


"The Americans have been calling for Iran to be reported to the Security Council for a year and a half, now the whole world has turned down America's calls," Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani told a news conference.

"Despite the U.S. propaganda Iran has not relinquished its right to the (nuclear) fuel cycle and it never will do," said the cleric, who is secretary-general of Iran's top security body, the Supreme National Security Council.

His comments appeared to undermine European Union (news - web sites) efforts to persuade Tehran to permanently mothball enrichment facilities -- which can be used to make atomic reactor fuel or nuclear bombs -- and were likely to fuel U.S. concerns that Iran secretly plans to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is solely for electricity generation, on Monday escaped possible U.N. sanctions after agreeing to suspend all uranium processing and enrichment activities.

The EU hopes Iran will make the suspension permanent in return for trade deals and other incentives. But Tehran says the suspension is a voluntary and temporary measure designed to gain international trust.

"The length of the suspension will only be for the length of the negotiations with the Europeans and ... must be rational and not too long," Rohani said.

"We're talking about months, not years," he added.

The United States, which already has a ban on trade and investment with Iran, OPEC (news - web sites)'s second biggest oil producer, has voiced skepticism Iran will stick to the nuclear freeze and says it may take Iran's case to the Security Council on its own.


Western diplomats have expressed growing frustration with Iran, which reneged on a similar suspension six months ago and wrangled over each step of negotiations on the current freeze.

But Rohani said Iran's talks with the EU over the nuclear issue were a positive sign to the world.

"This is a historical opportunity for Iran and Europe to prove to the world that unilateralism is condemned, that the world's most complicated matters can be solved by negotiation."

"Negotiations with Europe will be complicated, it won't be easy and will have lots of ups and downs," he added, warning: "If the Europeans do not show honesty, we will leave the talks."

"Europe wants objective guarantees that our enrichment activities won't be diverted to making weapons. How to implement this guarantee will be the most difficult part of the negotiations," he said.

The Iran-EU talks are due to resume on Dec. 15, by which time the two sides must resolve a dispute over 20 enrichment centrifuges which Iran wanted to exempt from the freeze.

Iran says it will not use the centrifuges to enrich uranium -- a process which can make atomic reactor fuel or bomb-grade material. But it wants to use them for other tests and research.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana said Iran's nuclear freeze meant talks would resume on a trade and cooperation agreement. The talks have been on hold for more than a year due to the nuclear issue.

Rohani said the world had nothing to fear from Iran's nuclear facilities. "If we had wanted to make a nuclear bomb we would have made one in the last 20 years," he said. (Additional reporting by Amir Paivar and Christian Oliver)


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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2004, 04:51:23 PM »

Iran Refuses to Give Up Nuclear Research-Diplomats
Sun Dec 12, 8:07 AM ET
World - Reuters
By Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran intends to use Monday's talks with France, Britain and Germany to ensure it has the right to go on carrying out research with equipment that could be used to develop nuclear weapons, Western diplomats said.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani, will meet foreign ministers of the EU's "big three" in Brussels on Monday for talks on details of a deal that would reward Iran for taking steps to assure the world it is not developing an atom bomb.

"Iran plans to insist on its right to conduct R&D (research and development) and to agree to conduct negotiations only on how it will be inspected and not the fact of the existence of R&D," a diplomat who follows the work of the Vienna-based U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Reuters.

The United States accuses Iran of using its nuclear energy program as a front to develop the know-how to make weapons, a charge Iran denies. Washington has pushed the U.N. nuclear watchdog to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions but the agency has refused to do so.

The centrifuges, machines that enrich uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants or in atomic weapons, are a sensitive issue for the Europeans, who would like Iran to permanently abandon all work that could produce bomb-grade enriched uranium or plutonium useable in a weapon.

But Iran has made clear that it will never give this up.

"Permanent freezing (of uranium enrichment) is not an option for us," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference. "What we've agreed to is temporary suspension for a short period."

Western diplomats close to the EU-Iran negotiations said that Iran's wish-list for the talks was quite extensive. In exchange for freezing its nuclear program Iran wants benefits in the areas of telecommunications, railways and financing.

The Iranians have said they want to see swift progress in the talks with the EU and an end to restrictions on the sale of sensitive technologies to Iran. The timing could be a problem, since the Iranians want the talks to last months and the Europeans expect them to last years.


A resolution passed by the IAEA board of governors on Nov. 29 called on Iran to freeze its nuclear program but mentioned no punitive actions if Tehran resumed work on nuclear fuel. It describes the freeze as "voluntary" and "non-legally-binding."

The resolution had been watered down from an earlier version, which had implied the possibility that Security Council sanctions could be sought if Iran resumed any activity linked to enrichment and called on Iran to provide "unrestricted access" to U.N. inspectors.

These two parts of the resolution were dropped by the EU trio after Iran agreed to relinquish demands that it be allowed to operate 20 centrifuges for research purposes. Diplomats close to the talks said the Iranians agreed not to use the centrifuges but refused to give up their right to research and development

Recognizing Iran's right to research and development, diplomats in Vienna say, amounts to a de facto recognition that Iran has the right to a future uranium enrichment program.

The EU trio is hampered by the fact that Washington refuses to participate in any offer of incentives to Tehran, which Washington believes is only using the negotiations with the EU to avoid U.N. economic sanctions while it forges ahead with plans to develop the capability to produce a bomb.

Some diplomats say the EU plan is doomed without active participation from Washington, which cut diplomatic ties after its embassy staff in Tehran was taken hostage in 1979. (Additional reporting by Amir Paivar in Tehran)


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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2004, 04:03:54 PM »


WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The U.S. Defense Department was said to have completed simulated war games to determine the feasibility of destroying Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The Atlantic Monthly magazine reported in its latest issue that the Pentagon held simulations of a U.S. military strike on Iranian bases and nuclear facilities. The magazine said the recent war games also included a ground invasion of Iran.

The simulation envisioned a three-phase war against the Islamic republic. The first phase was composed of air strikes against bases of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, believed to control Iran's nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. intelligence sources were quoted as saying that such a strike would require one day and comprised the easiest part of any military campaign.

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« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2004, 04:05:15 PM »

U.S.-European discord over Iran is deepening
By Steven R. Weisman The New York Times
Monday, December 13, 2004

WASHINGTON Despite a renewed American effort to repair relations with Europe, a disagreement between the Bush administration and European leaders over how best to persuade Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program has deepened in recent weeks, diplomats on both sides say.

The diplomats said the disagreement focused on what Europeans maintained was the crucial next step in their drive to persuade Iran to move beyond its recently agreed upon voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment activities to the point of abandoning them outright.

Envoys from Britain, France and Germany gained Iran's agreement to suspend a vital part of its nuclear program last month. The accord was later endorsed by the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear monitoring agency.

Both the European and Iranian officials who negotiated the accord said it was voluntary and temporary. Permanent cessation is subject to further talks in which economic and political benefits for Iran are to be discussed.

But in recent interviews, European diplomats said that to gain a permanent cessation, the Bush administration must participate in talks with Iran and signal a willingness to be a part of an eventual final accord involving economic incentives and a discussion of security guarantees for Iran.

"We have a deal with Iran that is not perfect," said a European diplomat. "We have to develop it into a permanent suspension. But we will succeed only if we can provide a lot of carrots. We will not obtain a comprehensive deal on Iran without the United States."

A diplomat from a different European country said the "biggest carrot" that could be offered Iran would be a discussion about an eventual normalization of relations with the United States, including possible guarantees that Iran would not be attacked or subverted.

"It would be very helpful if the United States also embraced this view," the diplomat said of the need for American involvement. But he said that when some Europeans recently raised this issue with Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser and secretary of state designate, they failed to convince her.

A senior U.S. official said the administration was "deeply worried" about the entire European approach because it could lull the United States into a false sense of security.

Any such deal, he said, could easily be subverted or circumvented, much as North Korea did after it agreed in 1994 to freeze its production of weapons-grade fuel at one reactor, only to renege on the accord and embark on what the United States charges is a plan to produce weapons-grade fuel at another, clandestine location.

Another senior administration official said there was also no confidence within the administration in the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran's compliance even with the accord hammered out by the Europeans.

The official said that the Europeans had agreed to excessive limits on the agency's ability to inspect Iran's facilities and that there was the added problem that Iran might pursue weapons programs at facilities that Western experts had been unable to locate or identify.

European diplomats, responding to these criticisms, said that while their deal with Iran was flawed, it represented the best hope for reaching an accord that would be accepted by the rest of the world, particularly Russia and China, two players with economic ties to Iran.

To get American involvement in the next phase of negotiations, European envoys said they told Iran that if it failed to comply with its agreement, they would join with the United States in referring the Iranian issue to the UN Security Council for possible further actions, including economic sanctions.

To some U.S. officials, the European attitude may be well intentioned but also naive and based on a fundamental misreading of Iran's intentions. What is needed, they contend, is a unified willingness to demand action and to threaten sanctions against Iran.

Bush administration officials add that while bombing Iranian nuclear sites or taking other sorts of military action are not being contemplated now, they are not ruled out for the future.

The European-American differences on the issue show few signs of being resolved soon, despite a trip this week by Secretary of State Colin Powell to three European-American meetings and a planned trip to Europe by President Bush after his inauguration in January.

"The Europeans are barking up the wrong tree if they think the U.S. can bring the Iranians to the table to get an agreement on this," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy and an Iran specialist.

"What is needed," he said, "is for the entire international community - the Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians and the United States - to tell the Iranians to make a deal on this or face the consequences. Right now, what the Iranians say they want from the United States goes far beyond what the administration would be willing to offer."

The Europeans have begun discussion of an array of economic benefits that would accrue to Iran if it headed toward a full cessation of its suspicious nuclear activities.

Among them, according to the Europeans, would be a reaffirmation of Iran's right to have a peaceful nuclear energy program, including access to nuclear fuel on international markets in return for an agreement to return the fuel once it is used. Iranian access to Western high technology and discussing the establishment of the Middle East, presumably including Israel, as a zone free of all nuclear weapons, are also under consideration.

U.S. officials say, however, they are suspicious of any partial deals that do not encompass an end to Iran's support of insurgents in Iraq and to groups that carry out attacks on Israeli citizens, including Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and militant factions within the Palestine Liberation Organization.

But European diplomats say they are prepared to enter into a discussion of these matters, and also of Iran's repressive practices at home, in what they are describing as "phase two" of their talks with Iran. "Of course, the earlier the United States gets into the talks, the better," said a senior European diplomat, adding that the main incentive to Iran is to end the Western threat of economic and political isolation.

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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2004, 04:58:08 PM »

The Europeans have begun discussion of an array of economic benefits that would accrue to Iran if it headed toward a full cessation of its suspicious nuclear activities.

I guess none of the EU intelligentsia were around long enough for the name "Neville Chamberlin" to have meant much.

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« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2004, 08:12:16 PM »

Its a loaded powder keg any way it goes from here.   If no action is taken, they will gain their bomb, and threaten  Israel's existance and possibly allowing nukes to fall into the hands of terrorists.   If we do take action, it will further isolate America from the world community and revive the "hate bush and American campaign", and possibly start war in the middle east yet again.   I still think I'd prefer to not allow Iran to have nukes.   That seems like suicide.

The resolution had been watered down from an earlier version, which had implied the possibility that Security Council sanctions could be sought if Iran resumed any activity linked to enrichment and called on Iran to provide "unrestricted access" to U.N. inspectors.

Boy does this sound familiar!      



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