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Iran Urged Not To Resume Nuclear Activities

Annan Urges Iran Not To Resume Nuclear Activities Before Receiving European Plan

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on Iran not to restart its nuclear activities before receiving the latest European proposals aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the issue arising out of Tehran's two decades-long concealment of its nuclear activities in breach of its treaty obligations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, said yesterday Iran had informed it that it would resume activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Esfahan as of yesterday. Enriched uranium can be used for such peaceful purposes as generating energy, but also for making nuclear weapons.

Several countries, including the United States, insist that Iran is seeking such weapons, but Iran denies this and last year suspended all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as a good-will gesture while three European Union (EU) countries, Britain, France and Germany, known as the European Three, sought to resolve the issue.

"The Secretary-General urges restraint and patience on the part of the Iranian authorities," spokesman Stephane Dujarric told the daily briefing today. "He very much believes that they should wait for the latest proposals from the European Three before making any attempts to restart their nuclear activities."

"In his dealings with the three European countries, the Secretary-General is convinced that they are very much constructively engaged in a search for a solution and therefore encourages the Iranian authorities to continue to work with them. The Secretary-General very much supports the dialogue between the European Three and the Iranian authorities," Mr. Dujarric added.

The IAEA has also called on Iran to continue negotiating with the EU and not take any action that could undermine agency inspections. It said yesterday that in order to implement effective safeguards it would need to install additional surveillance equipment at the UCF in Esfahan and would not be able to do so until some time next week.

Iran's nuclear programme has been a matter of concern since 2003, when the IAEA determined that the country had for almost two decades concealed its nuclear activities in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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