The pictures of Iran resuming its uranium conversion work at its Isfahan nuclear facility yesterday shocked the world. So far negotiations by the EU to persuade the Islamic nation to scrap its nuclear fuel work appear to have failed, with Tehran continuing to deny accusations the operation is a cover to make atomic bombs. Only part of the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility has re-opened and thatunder the watchful eye of the IAEA, as spokesperson Melissa Fleming explains:“They did this just after the inspector had set up the cameras, but regrettably prior to the 24-hour testing period that we said we required.”
Tension between Iran and the international community has mounted – the IAEA could call for UN sanctions on the grounds Tehran illegally hid its uranium enrichment programme. But though relations are fragile, so far Iran seems to be co-operating with the UN watchdog. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council spokesman Ali Aha Mohammadi explains that the IAEA’s representatives installed the cameras, and adds that the parts opened were not under a UN seal and that the sealed parts had not been broken yet.EU talks spearheaded by France, Germany and Britain had aimed at persuading Iran to abandon nuclear technology that could lead to bomb making. In exchange it would receive political and economic incentives. But Iran rejected that deal – Germany warned Iran it was heading for a confrontational course. The country’s foreign minister Joschka Fischer said Iran should take stock as it was a step in the wrong direction. But Iran’s National Security Council described the European offer as “win lose.” Mohammadi went on to say that Europe was humilating his nation. Sceptics say Iran has no need for nuclear fuel and remain convinced the programme is aimed at making atomic weapons. Some add that once it has the capbability it may leave the decision as to when to actually build the nuclear weapon for the future.