08/01/2005, 00.00
IRAN – EUROPEAN UNION
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Iran to reopen nuclear facility

Tehran's decision follows EU's failure to submit proposals aimed at securing Iran's agreement to a civilian-only nuclear programme.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iranian technicians will break IAEA seals placed on the Isfahan nuclear facility last November. The decision follows the EU's failure to submit proposals aimed at securing Iran's agreement to a civilian-only nuclear programme.

Ali Agha Mohammadi, a spokesman for Iran's National Security Council, said that UN inspectors will supervise the first stage in Iran's resumption of activities at the nuclear facility.

According to the Iranian government, the deadline for EU proposals passed this afternoon. In the absence of any statement by Javier Solana and other European security officials, Tehran has decided to resume reprocessing uranium but left the door open to further diplomatic contacts with the EU.

Meanwhile, the EU-3—Britain, France and Germany—is preparing a package of trade, technology and security incentives in return for Iran guaranteeing its nuclear programme is peaceful, an official with the International Atomic Energy Agency said in Vienna. The package is scheduled to be submitted to Tehran by next week.

For some time, the European Commission has been urging Iran not to resume its nuclear programme.

Both the EU and the US believe that the Isfahan facility can enrich uranium and allow Iran to build atomic bombs.

Should the Isfahan facility be reactivated, a special IAEA meeting would be convened to give Tehran an ultimatum, European diplomats stated on July 31.

If this fails, the issue will move to the UN Security Council, but for the EU this is a course of last resort; Europe fears that the Iranian government might opt out of the Non Proliferation Treaty as North Korea did in 2004.

Iran tops US President Bush's Axis of evil list. In recent months, there have been rumours of possible US or Israeli attacks against its nuclear facilities.

Iran has always claimed that it is enriching uranium for civilian purposes only, i.e. provide its nuclear plants with fuel to generate power. However, several facilities under construction can enrich uranium for atomic bombs as well.

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