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Iran Reportedly Drops Nuclear Demand

28 November 2004 -- Diplomats in Vienna say Iran appears to have dropped its demand to exempt research and development on uranium enrichment technology from a freeze of its enrichment program.

The controversial demand threatened to derail a deal between Tehran and a trio of European Union countries -- Britain, France, and Germany -- under which Iran would halt nuclear-energy programs that can make fuel for nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons.

News agencies quoted unidentified Western diplomats as saying the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has received a letter from Iran withdrawing its exemption request.

Iran had been insisting that it be permitted to continue operating 20 centrifuges, which purify uranium, for research and development purposes.

Iran had said the agreement doesn't cover research with the centrifuges. The European Union has disagreed.