The United Nations nuclear watchdog has called on Iran to halt sensitive atomic work it restarted this week – a demand Tehran has rejected as unacceptable. The governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a draft resolution drawn up by Germany, France and Britain, which expresses “serious concern” at the resumption of work at the Isfahan uranium conversion plant.“The board called on Iran to rectify the situation but also underlined the importance of further discussion about Iran’s decision,” said IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei. “I read that to mean a call to all parties to go back to the negotiating table. “I was very encouraged in fact by the statement both by Iran and by the three Europeans that they are ready to continue negotiations.” Iran restarted activities at Isfahan on Monday, ending a nine-month suspension it had observed after a deal with the European Union.
Yesterday it removed seals that had been put in place by UN inspectors, meaning the plant is now fully operational. The Islamic Republic denies Western accusations that its atomic programme is a front for covert bomb-making, saying it needs nuclear power as an alternative source of energy.