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Published Sunday, September 5, 2004

PARIS, 5 Sept. (IPS) The Islamic Republic of Iran on Sunday repeated that it was still going on with its commitment to suspend uranium enrichment.

Making the remarks in his weekly press briefing, Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s senior spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said Iran has already agreed to take certain measures in return for the commitments the Europeans assume regarding closing of Iran’s file at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Protocol allows IAEA experts full and unconditional access to all Iranian nuclear sites and projects, but Iran refuses inspection of military installations.

Mr. Asefi was referring to the agreement signed last October between foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany with Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the powerful Secretary of Supreme Council on National Security to sign the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and suspend enriching uranium against Europe’s pledge to help Iran access to nuclear technologies for civilian purposes and closing Iran’s dossier at the IAEA.

The Protocol allows IAEA experts full and unconditional access to all Iranian nuclear sites and projects, but Iran refuses inspection of military installations.

“Iran was still committed to its promise to suspend uranium enrichment”, the spokesman said not mentioning the fact that Tehran has failed to respect its pledge by announcing that it had resumed both uranium enriching activities and making parts for nuclear centrifuges, which can enrich uranium to the weapons-grade level needed for use in nuclear warheads.

It also resumed operations at a plant that produces uranium hexafluoride, the gas pumped into centrifuges.

"Suspension of enrichment continues but the issue of building centrifuges parts is a separate issue and it should be differentiated", Asefi argued, adding, “The Europeans should understand that manufacturing parts is a topic totally different from uranium enrichment”.


According to Mr. Asefi, Iran expected its file to be closed in the upcoming IAEA meeting, “but unfortunately it was said that the IAEA needed more time to decide”.

On Friday 3 September, the European Union foreign affairs ministers said from Valkenburg, in Holland, that Iran's nuclear program has cast a shadow over its relations with Europe.

“We want to send out a very strong signal that we mean business", said Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, whose country holds the EU presidency. "We cannot accept ... the development of weapons grade uranium by Iran”, he added, referring to a U.N. report this week showing that Iran plans to process tons of raw uranium.

The 25 members European Union suspended the signing of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the Islamic Republic in protest against degradation of human rights situation, Tehran’s support for international terrorism and opposing peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Answering to a question on the probability of Iran’s case to be transferred to the United Nations Security Council, Asefi expressed his belief that the case was definitely over unless US refused to abide by international laws.

He stressed that even in that case the international community could judge for itself and said Tehran believed the case could easily be settled among Iran, Europe and the IAEA.

IAEA experts revealed recently that Iran has resumed activities aimed at producing material needed for making atomic weapons.

Sources working on Iran’s controversial nuclear activities told Iran Press Service that while Washington presses hard the United Nations nuclear watchdog to transfer the case to the Security Council for possible sanctions against Iran, but it is unlikely that it would succeed.

“On the other hand, the case would not be closed at the IAEA’s coming meeting, due to Europe’s Big 3 suspicions on Iran’s commitments”, one source explained.

According to the Iranian official news agency IRNA, Mr. Asefi told reporters that the report “in a general view proves that Iran has been very transparent, straight and clear in its dealings with the IAEA which, he believed, was sufficient for world public opinion to judge fairly on the case”.

But IAEA experts revealed recently that Iran has resumed activities aimed at producing material needed for making atomic weapons.

The Agency said in a report this week that Iran plans to process more than 40 tons of uranium into uranium hexafluoride gas. Experts said the amount was enough for four or five warheads.

On Thursday, Iran acknowledged it plans to process tons of raw uranium, but said the IAEA was informed long ago. Iran maintains its nuclear program is geared only toward producing electricity, not a nuclear bomb.


Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's former envoy to the IAEA said Iran's uranium conversion facilities facility in Isfahan, in central Iran, has a capacity of converting more than 300 tons of uranium ore into hexafluoride gas annually.

"The Agency knew the capacity of the facility before it was built. The facility is under IAEA safeguards", the American news agency Associated Press quoted Mr. Salehi, now an advisor to the Foreign Affairs Minister, as having said, adding that the capacity of Iran's uranium enrichment plant in Natanz was 30 tons per year.

The facility in Natanz uses centrifuges to enrich uranium hexafluoride gas and turn it into pellets that are then used as fuel in nuclear reactors.

Iran acknowledged it plans to process tons of raw uranium.

At their recent meeting in the black Sea resort of Sochi, leaders of France, Germany and Russia stressed on their efforts and cooperation in stopping the Islamic Republic joining the Atomic Club by acquiring nuclear bomb.

Another question was posed to the spokesman on chances of Iran’s adopting more radical positions if its file fails to be closed at the IAEA to which Asefi answered that Iran acted according to its national interests and expressed the hope the IAEA would go on with its duties independently and free from political pressures.

The question concerned the visible hardening of Iranian attitude towards both the IAEA and the European Union ever since the ruling conservatives secured the control of the Legislative in the last elections, with new lawmakers repeating threats of not ratifying the Protocol when it comes to the Majles in case the IAEA and Europe’s Big 3 refuses to satisfy Iranian demands for access to nuclear technologies.

He said such an independent and expert attitude on the part of the IAEA would pave the way for enhancement of cooperation between Iran and the European countries.

Mr. Asefi also announced that Mr. Rohani will leave Tehran for the Netherlands on Monday and then to Vienna, ahead of the next meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA scheduled on 13 September in Vienna, where the organisation is based.


The Netherlands holds the presidency of the European Union (EU) at present.

Touching upon the IAEA report which is due to be presented to the upcoming IAEA meeting, Asefi commented that the report could have been compiled in a “more conclusive and comprehensive manner”.

Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is a "silly joke and psychological war.

Asefi remarked that the vague points about the sources of contamination have also been removed by the report which stresses that the contaminations were imported into the country from foreign sources.

“This makes the allegation of Iran’s conducting activities outside the domain of its authority an irrelevant one”, he asserted, according to IRNA.


Elsewhere, the spokesman dismissed the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities as a "silly joke and psychological war".

"The Israelis have an accurate appraisal of their own capabilities and Iran's capabilities. And they know that resorting to this(attacking Iran) will only translate into a decisive and irrevocable response to the Zionist regime", he added, referring to the escalating war of words and threats between Iran and Israel, which accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons to destroy the Jewish State. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 5904


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As of January 2009, this site is definitely closed, but you can follow Safa Haeri on his new blog: DAMAVAND at

Iran has not resumed enriching uranium, Mr. Asefi says



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