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Iran Rejects Europe's Warnings Over Nuclear Activities

2 August 2005 -- Iran today rejected warnings from the European Union against resuming its uranium-enrichment activities, saying it would never abandon what it called its "legitimate rights."

Iran was referring to a letter from Britain, France, and Germany received in Tehran earlier today. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said "the time for threats and intimidation is over."

The three European countries have been negotiating with Iran to secure an end to its uranium-enrichment program on behalf of the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog. In their letter they warned Tehran that any move to resume its nuclear activities would bring talks to an end and force them to pursue "other courses of action."

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said this could mean referring the case to the UN Security Council. "If the Iranians still do not accept what the [IAEA's] Council of Governors proposes them, then it seems to me that the international community should turn to the [UN] Security Council. This is a major issue and we will see then what type of sanctions we may impose on Iran."

Despite its denial to the contrary, Iran is suspected of pursuing a nuclear-weapons program. It has threatened to restart its enrichment program within two days.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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