TEHRAN, 28 Oct. (IPS) Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced Thursday that Iran would not accept long-term suspension of enriching uranium.
"Long term suspension of (uranium) enrichment is an illogical demand. What kind of logical relation exists between transparency and long-term suspension of enrichment?" the Iranian leader asked during a meeting with the regime’s highest officials both civilian and military.
If Iran's interlocutors adopt an irrational attitude, Iran would stop negotiating, Mr. Khameneh'i warned
"I say to those negotiating with representatives of the Iranian people not to lead us to the conclusion, through unjust and illogical words, that they do not believe in negotiations based on logic, because in that case, the people and the Islamic Republic will leave the negotiating table", Mr. Khameneh'i stated, also warning all Iranian interlocutors on the country’s controversial nuclear projects that “if they adopt an irrational attitude, Iran would stop negotiating”, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
This was the first time since the start of the negotiations between the Islamic Republic in one hand, the European Union’s so-called Big 3 and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the other that Ayatollah Khameneh'i has made his opinion on the subject to be known.
"If, under whatever form, we would discern a threat during the negotiations, that will be a sign of a lack of logic on the part of those negotiating, and in that case the Iranian people and the Islamic Republic will revise their stand on the very principle of negotiations and continued cooperation".
As he was addressing the nation’s top officials, it was announced in Vienna that Iran must decide by mid-November about suspending uranium enrichment if it is to avoid possible UN Security Council sanctions.
According to diplomats, IAEA’s Director General Mohammad ElBarade’i, has said it would take his inspectors 10 days to verify suspension ahead of the next meeting of the Agency’s Directors scheduled for 25 November.
In the 18 September Revolution, the Directors gave Iran until 25 November to suspend all its uranium enriching activities or the case would be referred to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
"November 15 is a kind of logistical deadline for the IAEA," the diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said, setting a limit to last-chance talks Iran is currently holding with the European Union, AFP said in a dispatch from Vienna, adding that an IAEA spokesman refused to comment on this report.
Iran must decide by mid-November about suspending uranium enrichment if it is to avoid possible UN Security Council sanctions
“ElBaradei is to file a report on Iran some two weeks before the 25 November meeting and if Iran fails to have indicated in time for the report that it is suspending all enrichment activities, the Islamic Republic will be in big trouble because the media outcry will be enormous, as the IAEA had in September called on Iran to “immediately” halt enrichment activities”, one diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Ayatollah Khameneh'i’ comments came at the time that representatives from Iran and counterparts from Britain, France and Germany continue crucial, but so far inconclusive talks in Vienna on the latest proposals of the European Trio to Tehran.
Under the European offer, Iran would receive valuable nuclear technology, including a light-water research reactor, which would produce less fissionable material than the heavy-water reactor Tehran wants to build, according to a confidential text obtained by the French news agency AFP.
The deal also includes a recognition of Tehran's right to peaceful nuclear technology, measures to increase trade and backing of some of Iran's regional security concerns.
But these carrots would according to the deal only come as part of a long-term agreement, to be hammered out once Iran has suspended uranium enrichment, a measure that Tehran has already rejected.
According to informed sources, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, Iran’s senior negotiator with both IAEA and the Big 3 has said that Iran might suspend enriching activities for a certain period of time, but not on long term, something between 10 to 15 years, as demanded by the Europeans.
Talking to reporters on Monday in the Majles, where he had briefed lawmakers over the ongoing talks in Vienna and elsewhere, Mr. Rohani repeated that restricting Iran’s access to nuclear technology marks a red line for the country and it would not be acceptable at all.
"Whenever there has been a logical word, like inspection by IAEA inspectors, we accept wholeheartedly, and yet we will never yield to any kind of oppression", the Iranian leader observed, reiterating that his country was not after developing nuclear weapons, as the Americans insist.
According to Mr. Khameneh'i, an orthodox cleric, the hue and cry over Iran’s nuclear activities is a “pretext aimed at interrupting the country’s progress by occupying the minds of all three branches` top officials".
In its last resolution adopted on 18 September 2004, the Board of IAEA’s Directors had demanded Iran to stop all uranium enriching activities and also renounce to the construction of a heavy water installations.
However, on Wednesday, authorities in Tehran allowed for the first time journalists, including foreigners, to visit the project in Arak, some 200 kilometres south west of the capital Tehran.
According to the Project’s manager Mr. Manouchehr Madadi, the installations, -- all made locally by Iranians without any foreign help -- are near completion and produces some 16 tonnes of material.
The visit, prepared while Iran is talking with the Trio on the nuclear issue, is aimed at proving the international community that Iran was serious in its insistence for achieving full nuclear cycle.
Mr. Sirous Naseri, a member of Iranian negotiating team in Vienna was quoted by correspondents as having said that thought the talks had been held in a "friendly atmosphere and in goodwill, but have not yield any substantial and positive result”.
He said the Iranian party had provided the German, British and French teams with a reply to the European offer, but refused to unveil further details, IRNA said.
However, certain non-official reports indicate that Iran voiced its adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), reaffirming its right to acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
“We cannot be a double-end losers”, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, the Secretary to the Foreign Policy Department of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security told reporters, referring to the American and European pressures on Iran to stop all nuclear activities without giving full assurances of getting what the country must get under NPT regulations, meaning access to advanced nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 281004