Envoy: Iran Obliged to Continue Uranium Enrichment

A05165291.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh said on Thursday that since mutual talks between Iran and IAEA on guaranteeing nuclear fuel have failed, Iran has no alternative but to continue uranium enrichment independently and generate fuel cycle.

Talks between Iran and IAEA on generating nuclear fuel started in 1987, he said.

Iran’s envoy made the remarks in a meeting hosted by European Security Institute (ESI) in Vienna on Thursday.

Iran is to continue enriching uranium while there is no legally-binding international assurance of a nuclear fuel supply, he said, adding that the West has not remained committed to its pledges in the past and Iran should continue with uranium enrichment and there is no technical or legal justification to halt it.

All countries should take part in talks on guaranteeing nuclear fuel supply, he underlined.

“If other countries would like to enter into the business, they should put forward their proposal on supply of nuclear fuel or construction of nuclear power plants through tenders,” he said, adding that it is necessary to save nuclear fuel supply for emergency cases.

Former head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission Hans Blix as another lecturer in the meeting said that talks on nuclear fuel supply and guaranteeing nuclear fuel supply failed in 1980s.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said during his tenure at IAEA, the US prevented delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran.

Due to lack of confidence on the part of the West, Iran is entitled to act according to NPT’s letter of association and make use of its undeniable rights, he said.

He called for settlement of Iran’s nuclear issue through peaceful means.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations.

Iran vehemently denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.

Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, saying that renouncing its rights under the NPT would encourage world powers to put further pressure on the country and would not lead to a change in the West’s hardline stance on Tehran.

Iran insists that it has to continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Tehran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of IAEA’s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.

Analysts believe that the US is at loggerheads with Iran due mainly to the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran’s nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicts a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military action against Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Also in his latest report to the 35-nation Board of Governors, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei confirmed “the non-diversion” of nuclear material in Iran and added that the agency had found no “components of a nuclear weapon” or “related nuclear physics studies” in the country.

The IAEA report confirmed that Iran has managed to enrich uranium-235 to a level ‘less than 5 percent.’ Such a rate is consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production, meanwhile, requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

Many world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure against Iran unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

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