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Iran Slams Warning on Referral of Nuclear Issue to UN

Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh said in Moscow Monday that referring his country's nuclear issue to the UN Security Council cannot be justified, and threatened with tough reactions should that happen.

Germany, France and Britain, the so-called European trio that has been in talks with Tehran to persuade it to scrap uranium enrichment, bristled at Iran's August move to renew uranium conversion activities and warned of backing a US push to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for sanctions.

Aghazadeh, who also heads Iran's nuclear energy agency and is in town to meet Russian officials including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said there are no technical or legal reasons for referring Iran's nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

"Let me assure you we are not seeking dividends in exchange for suspending our nuclear activity either at the talks with the 'European trio' or with Russia. What we are interested in is creating an atmosphere of trust and transparency before the whole world so as to convince everyone that we are conducting peaceful research," Aghazadeh was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Uranium conversion is a process that precedes enrichment. Enriched uranium can be used as fuel in nuclear power generation or in nuclear bombs.

Moscow, which insisted on Iran's right to develop peaceful nuclear technologies, has urged Tehran to halt uranium conversion and continue cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Aghazadeh, however, said his country would not budge on nuclea rfuel work.

"This matter has already become a national issue that concerns the whole of the Iranian society and I can assure you no Iranian government will agree to conclude a bargain deal on this issue," Aghazadeh said.

The Iranian government will announce new proposals to the European trio ahead of a session of the IAEA board of governors, scheduled for Sept. 19, Aghazadeh said.

"The nature of our cooperation with the IAEA is positive, which is stated in Director General Mohamed ElBaradei's reports," Aghazadeh said, adding that a number of countries, including Russia, have objected to bringing Iran before the UN Security Council.

"Should other sides like to politicize this issue, we will react accordingly. Iran's reaction will be tough and clear, and if this happens, then you will learn what our reaction will be like," Aghazadeh said.

In meetings with Russian officials, Aghazadeh discussed nuclear energy cooperation with Russia, which is building a nuclear power plant in Iran under a one-billion-US dollar contract.

Both sides confirmed their wish to launch the Bushehr nuclear power plant before the end of 2006 at a meeting between Aghazadeh and Russian Atomic Energy Agency chief Alexander Rumyantsev, an agency source told Interfax.

(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2005)

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