Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Because They Are A Sovereign Nation

Iran will break the UN seals on their atomic plant. From Reuters:

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran began breaking U.N. seals at a uranium processing plant on Wednesday, U.N. and Iranian officials said, a step on the road to production of enriched uranium that could be used for nuclear weapons.

"They have begun breaking the seals," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said.

"They are going to break all the seals and begin operating the plant in full."

As Iran prepared to restart the sensitive sections of the plant at Isfahan, the European Union's three biggest powers tried to persuade the 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to warn Tehran to stop the work.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

The U.N. watchdog put on the seals after Tehran agreed with Britain, Germany and France to suspend all nuclear fuel work last November to ease tensions after the IAEA found Iran had hidden weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.

Earlier this week, Iran restarted work at less sensitive, unsealed areas of the plant after rejecting a package of economic and political incentives from the EU3 to give up its nuclear program.

IAEA officials agreed Tehran's request to remove the seals after installing surveillance cameras to ensure no uranium is shifted away from the plant for any covert weapons work.

Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, confirmed on Wednesday that the removal had begun.

Under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Iran has signed, Tehran may process and enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. But the EU3 say the only way to prove peaceful intentions is to renounce all sensitive technologies.


The German government said Iran had rejected the EU3's incentives after only "brief and superficial review" and appealed to Tehran to take the "sensible path" and look at the proposals again.

"We appeal urgently to the Iranian side to return to the status quo ante, to a full suspension of all enrichment-relevant activities," a government spokesman said.

The IAEA board convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday but quickly adjourned to give the trio time to negotiate with other key members of the 35-nation board about the text of an IAEA resolution urging Iran to immediately resume the suspension.

One EU diplomat said that the United States, Russia and China and the other Western countries on the IAEA board all supported its toughly-word draft resolution, but developing countries like India, Brazil and others opposed it.

"The non-aligned countries don't want a resolution at all but we're meeting with them today and will make it clear that they're a minority," the diplomat told Reuters. "I think they'll give in. We're quite firm on the need for a resolution."