01/11/2006, 00.00
IRAN
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World begins to react to Tehran's decision to restart nuclear research

EU3 foreign ministers are scheduled to meet tomorrow. China is hopeful that Iran-EU3 talks might prove useful. Russian foreign minister in Moscow says he is concerned, might not use veto in Secuirty Council.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran's decision to renew nuclear enrichment research is provoking a negative reaction greater than Tehran might have expected. Despite Iranian claims to the contrary, most believe that as one of the largest oil producing countries in the world it is pursuing nuclear research more for military purposes than civilian.

In addition to the expected US negative reaction and European Union's disappointment—France, Great Britain and Germany are involved in the difficult negotiations with Iran—Russia and China have also expressed alarm, albeit not in the same terms. Both have traditionally been Iran's allies.

In Iran itself, everyone seems to have fallen into line behind a new nationalist front. Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered by many to be a pragmatist, joined current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in supporting renewed "research" and in saying that Iran will never give up the chance of developing its own nuclear technology. Iran's official news agency IRNA quoted him as saying in response to critics that "[w]e cannot give up our rights."

IRNA also said that the decision to remove the seal from Iran's nuclear facilities was taken "in accordance with an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency" (IAEA).

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Philippe Douste-Blazy and Jack Straw, respectively the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Great Britain as well as EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Javier Solana will discuss in Berlin whether to bring the issue of Iran's decision before IAEA.

From the meeting in the German capital, whose decision will be communicated to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, might come a recommendation on future relations with Iran or a report for the UN Security Council as the Americans would like.

Should the issue reach the Council's floor Russia's veto might not be used this time. Russian Defence Minister Serghei Ivanov said that he was disappointed and alarmed by Tehran's decision.

Asked about what Russia might do if the issue came to a vote, he reiterated Russia's freedom to choose refusing to say whether the veto power would be used or not. As a member of the Secuirty Council, Russia had the right to act according to the situation with free hands, he said.

In Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who yesterday said he was "concerned about Tehran's decision, along with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice said today that he was "deeply disappointed" over Iran's decision. Moscow had offered Iran the possibility to enrich uranium on its territory.

Through its Xinhua news agency, Beijing also expressed its overall concern. After explaining the views of leaders of various countries, the news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan saying that the best route is that of talks between Iran and the EU3.

However, the latter are already considering cancelling the scheduled January 18 meeting with Iran.

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