12 August 2005
Iran Must Halt Uranium Enrichment Activities, State's Ereli Says
Teheran resumed activities August 8 in defiance of international demands
By David Shelby
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington – If Iran continues to pursue its nuclear activities in defiance of the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the matter should be referred to the U.N. Security Council, according to the State Department’s deputy spokesman Adam Ereli.
Speaking to reporters August 10, Ereli said the international community is calling on Iran “to resume the suspension of enrichment activities because these enrichment activities raise more questions than they answer and are very troublesome, given Iran's refusal to answer questions in the past and their attempt to deceive about their activities.”
Iran suspended uranium enrichment activities at its nuclear facility in Isfahan in November 2004 as part of negotiations over its nuclear program with Britain, France and Germany, collectively known as the EU3. It resumed those activities over the objection of IAEA officials August 8.
The Isfahan facility converts raw uranium, known as yellowcake, into UF-6 gas, which is used for enrichment. In a subsequent step, which Iran claims it is not currently pursuing, the gas is fed into a centrifuge and can be enriched to produce either nuclear fuel suitable for electricity generation or highly enriched weapons grade uranium.
Ereli said that Iran has been secretive and deceptive about its nuclear program in the past and that this behavior has raised concerns throughout the international community regarding Iran's intentions.
“Iran's explanations of its activities, I think, ring increasingly hollow in the sense that they say one thing and they do another and the conclusion that the rest of the international community takes away from all that is that there's more to this than meets the eye,” he said.
He said that Iran has failed to answer questions from the IAEA, has provided false information and has concealed key aspects of its nuclear program.
“[W]hat we're trying to do is basically ensure that Iran is not manipulating the situation to develop a nuclear weapon under the cover of a peaceful nuclear program. And based on the deceptions and obfuscations that they have engaged in up to now, the focus of the Board of Governors meeting, the focus of our follow-on activities is to find practical ways to, frankly, keep them honest, which they haven't been up to now,” he said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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