EU warns Iran over nuclear arms

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The Independent Online

The European Union will today accuse Iran of having documents that serve no other purpose than making nuclear arms and will warn it of possible future referral to the UN Security Council at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

A press statement, made available before planned delivery later in the day, was described by a diplomat as a summary of what Britain, France and Germany would tell a closed session of the IAEA board, which started meeting today. It criticises Tehran for possessing suspicious documents that "have no other application than the production of nuclear weapons".

The statement offered new negotiations meant to defuse tensions over Tehran's insistence that it be in full control of uranium enrichment - a possible pathway to nuclear arms.

"Failure to make progress" on easing international concerns about Iran's nuclear program "will hasten the day when the board decides that a report to the Security Council must be made," said the statement,

The European Union also reserves the right to call an emergency board meeting before the next scheduled gathering in March - for possible Security Council referral - "if Iranian behaviour makes it necessary."

The statement alluded to new revelations of concern contained in a report drawn up for the board meeting by IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei, including a finding showing the Iranians in possession of what appeared to be drawings of the core of an atomic warhead.

But the main issue is Iran's refusal to give up its right to enrichment, which can be used to generate power, but also to make weapons-grade material for nuclear warheads. Iran says it wants only to make fuel, but international concern is growing that the program could be misused.

A plan floated in recent weeks foresees moving any Iranian enrichment plan to Russia. There, in theory, Moscow would supervise the process to make sure enrichment is only to fuel levels.

But Iran insists it wants to master the complete fuel cycle domestically. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters in Tehran yesterday that, while his country was willing to resume formal talks with key European powers on its nuclear program, "naturally we aim to have enrichment on Iran's territory".

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