Monday, May 29, 2006

new sign for accepting iranian small-scale enrichment

iran slows down enrichment

Russia, the United States and China were ready to guarantee Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy if Tehran answered the questions raised by the UN nuclear watchdog, Russia's top diplomat said here on Monday.
analysts see this as new step for accepting iranian small-scale enrichment
"Russia supports the efforts to resume talks between Iran and the world community. The United States and China also support them," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Lavrov's remarks came just one day before a teleconference between diplomats of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

The meeting, grouping Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, was aimed at finding common ground over "a package of stimuli" for Tehran if it suspends uranium enrichment activities, as well as penalties if it does not, Itar-Tass quoted a Russian foreign ministry source as saying.

The UN Security Council demanded that Iran suspend uranium enrichment by the end of April, but Tehran defied the deadline and announced last month that it had succeeded in enriching uranium and was doing research on advanced enrichment.

Enriched uranium can be used to produce fuel for both power generators and nuclear bombs.

Iran "must be involved in international economic cooperation and the efforts to enhance security in the region," Lavrov said, adding "in parallel, we are ready to guarantee Iran's right to develop peaceful nuclear power engineering."

But all these had to be pinned on Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he added. "Another condition for the guarantees to nuclear energy engineering for Iran must be Iran's adherence to the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and to the additional protocol of the treaty," Lavrov said.

However, Iran has reiterated its reserved stance on Moscow’s earlier proposal to set up a joint venture for Iran's uranium enrichment on Russia's territory.

Stressing the peaceful nature of its nuclear program and its right to peaceful nuclear technology, Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told a news conference in Tehran on Monday that Iran's principled position was uranium enrichment on its own territory under IAEA's control.

Negotiations between the European trio -- Britain, France and Germany -- and Iran grounded to a halt in August 2005, when Tehran resumed uranium enrichment.

The United States has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons secretly, a charge repeatedly denied by Tehran, which insists that its nuclear program is to generate electricity to meet the country's surging demand. Enditem
iran slows down enrichment
at the same time Tehran appears to have slowed its drive to produce nuclear fuel after boasting that it had joined the "nuclear club" by successfully enriching uranium on an industrial scale and portraying its action as irreversible, The New York Times reported in its Monday edition.
Citing unnamed European diplomats who have reviewed reports from inspectors inside the country, the newspaper said the diplomats say the slowdown may be part of a deliberate Iranian strategy to lower the temperature of its standoff with the West and perhaps to create an opening for Washington to join the negotiations directly.
In discussions with White House and State Department officials in recent days, Europeans have described the inspectors' findings, clearly hoping to influence a debate within the Bush administration over whether to change strategy and engage directly with Iran, the report said.
But hardliners in the administration say they are unconvinced and think any slowdown may be merely a tactical ploy by the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, The Times said.
"It could simply mean we're not looking in the right places," the paper quotes one senior official as saying.
Diplomats say Iranian engineers stopped pouring a raw form of uranium, called UF6, into arrays of centrifuges after just 12 days, even as the nation erupted in celebrations of the enrichment feat, The Times said.
The reports, which have now been widely circulated, say the Iranians kept the empty centrifuges spinning, as is standard practice because slowing the delicate machines can cause them to wobble and crash, the report said.
Nuclear experts caution, however, that the slowdown may mean that Iran has run into technical obstacles on its nuclear road, the paper noted.

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