Envoy: Iran Snubbed by Six Powers on N. Offer

A04744992.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said Monday that six world powers have never responded to Tehran’s proposal for negotiations without pre-conditions aimed at resolving its nuclear stand-off with the West.

Instead, Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told a meeting of the UN General Assembly, a small group of countries continued to insist that Iran halt its uranium enrichment program, a demand that he said violated international law.

“The 5+1 Group has yet to provide its response to Iran’s proposed package,” he said, referring to a proposal for talks delivered in May to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

Iran presented a package of proposals to world powers in May, offering collective cooperation in solving major world issues.

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

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

“The policy of few powers in insisting on suspension as a precondition for negotiations bears zero relation to realities and is an irrational and failed policy,” Khazaee said.

Iran 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 has always dismissed western threats of sanctions and military action, stressing that the language of force strengthens Iranians’ national resolve.

He said that instead of imposing economic penalties on Tehran, “a solution that is based on realities … should be pursued.”

The 5+1 powers, including the five permanent UN Security Council members (China, France, Britain, Russia and the United States) plus Germany, have never responded to Iran’s offer, though the six never formally rejected it.

In the proposal, Iran called for cooperation to combat “common security threats” such as terrorism, “militarism” and drugs, and for developing international uranium enrichment consortiums in various countries, including Iran, to foster nuclear energy for development.

Tehran suggested such a consortium on its soil as a confidence-building measure, ostensibly to defuse fears it might covertly divert enrichment technology to bomb-making.

Khazaee dismissed suggestions that Iran’s atomic ambitions were anything but peaceful and made clear that Tehran had no intention of compromising on the issue of uranium enrichment.

“The demand for the suspension of enrichment is illegal … and in contravention of the provisions of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),” he said. “The Iranian nation will never accept illegal demands.”

Iran insists that it should 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.

Iran currently suffers from an electricity shortage that has forced the country into adopting a rationing program by scheduling power outages – of up to two hours a day – across both urban and rural areas.

Iran plans to construct additional nuclear power plants to provide for the electricity needs of its growing population.

Khazaee dismissed the intelligence reports, which the IAEA received from the United States and several other countries on Iran’s nuclear activities.

“What has been characterized as alleged studies (of nuclear weapons) are nothing but fabricated documents given to the agency by a certain country,” he said, adding that Tehran has never received copies of the intelligence reports.

The Islamic Republic says that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean of IAEA’s questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.

Political observers believe that the United States has remained at loggerheads with Iran mainly over 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 on 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.

The UN nuclear watchdog has so far carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West’s allegations.

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.

The Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog continues snap inspections of Iranian nuclear sites and has reported that all “declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

Mohammed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently said that Iran remains far from acquiring capabilities to develop nuclear weapons as it is still lacking the key components to produce an atomic weapon.

“They do not have even the nuclear material, the raw unenriched uranium to develop one nuclear weapon if they decide to do so,” said the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

Many world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure against Iran unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports, stressing that Tehran’s case should be normalized and returned to the UN nuclear watchdog due to the Islamic Republic’s increased cooperation with the agency.

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