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IRAN - Feb 27 - Teharn Stands Firm On 'Right' To Enrich Uranium.

The country's top security official Hassan Rowhani, reiterates Tehran will not give up its "right" under the nuclear NPT to enrich uranium. Arriving back in Tehran after talks in Germany and France, Rowhani said "European negotiators had the [mistaken] assumption that Iran would forgo uranium enrichment in case of political, security and economic concessions". Iran has been in tough negotiations with France, Germany and Britain since November over a raft of issues centred around Tehran's nuclear activities, which the US argues hide a weapons programme. Rowhani - who cancelled a visit to London after Iran claimed officials briefed reporters that Tehran should end enrichment - said talks would not continue beyond mid-March without definite signs of progress. Iran suspended uranium enrichment in October 2003 to allay international concern and head off a US attempt to refer it to the UN Security Council. While Pres Bush has recently spoken warmly of the EU engagement of Iran and played down a military option, speculation has continued that the US or Israel might attack Iran's nuclear facilities. In an interview published on Feb 27, Rowhani said reports of Tehran keeping nuclear equipment in tunnels "could be true". In a deal opposed by Washington, Moscow on Feb 28 signed a long-awaited agreement to supply fuel for Iran's 1,000MW Russian-built Bushehr plant, which is due to begin generating electricity later this year. Russia will also remove the plant's spent fuel, addressing US fears that Tehran might divert uranium into nuclear bombs. Although the White House had no immediate comment about the deal, it prompted one leading Republican to suggest on Feb 28 Russia be barred from the next G8 meeting of top industrialised nations. "This latest step of the Russians vis-a-vis the Iranians calls for sterner measures to be taken between ourselves and Russia", Senator John McCain said.
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Publication:APS Diplomat Recorder
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Mar 5, 2005
Words:302
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