Iran demands right to nuclear technology

/ Source: The Associated Press

Iran has told Europe’s leading powers that it wants them to back its right to nuclear technology that can be used to make weapons. Diplomats said Monday the move has dismayed the Europeans and strengthens Washington’s push for U.N. sanctions against Tehran.

France, Germany and Britain have not formally responded to the demands Iran presented to them in a document during a meeting last week in Paris. Contents of the document were obtained by The Associated Press

Diplomats said Iran’s conditions effectively stall the European attempt to convince Tehran to give up the technology that would allow it to make nuclear arms and pushes Europe closer to the U.S. view that Iran should be hauled before the U.N. Security Council for violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The demands, presented last week to the European powers during talks in Paris, stunned senior French, German and British negotiators, said an EU official familiar with the Paris meeting.

Ignoring the list, the Europeans instead urged Tehran to act on its pledge to clear up nagging suspicions about their nuclear ambitions by Sept. 13, when the International Atomic Energy Agency meets to review Iran’s nuclear dossier, said the official.

The Paris talks ended “with the two sides talking past each other,” said a diplomat familiar with the meeting, who — like the other diplomats and the EU official — demanded anonymity.

The United States insists Iran wants to make nuclear weapons, despite Tehran’s claims that it is interested in uranium enrichment and other “dual use” technology only to generate power.

“Iran must comply with the demands of the free world and that’s where we sit right now,” President Bush said Monday. “My attitude is that we’ve got to keep pressure on the government, and help others keep pressure on the government — so there’s going to be universal condemnation of illegal weapons activities.”

The Iranian demands include:

  • a call on the EU Three to back Iran’s insistence that it have access to “advanced (nuclear) technology, including those with dual use” — a term for equipment and know-how with both peaceful and weapons applications;
  • a demand that they “remove impediments” — present sanctions — preventing Iran access to such technology;
  • an assurance that the European powers stick to the commitments even if faced with “legal (or) political ... limitations” — an apparent allusion to potential Security Council sanctions on Iran;
  • agreement by the EU Three to meet Iran’s conventional weapons requirements;
  • and a commitment to push “rigorously and systematically” for a non-nuclear Middle East and to “provide security assurances” against a nuclear attack on Iran — both allusions to Israel, which is believed to have nuclear arms and destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in a 1981 strike to prevent it from making atomic arms.