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Iran To Soon Resume Sensitive Nuclear Activities

The reactor core at Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant 10 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iran has said that it will resume uranium enrichment-related activities within days. Mohammad Saeedi, a deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said in Tehran yesterday that the country will end "in the next few days" the current suspension of activities relating to the production of nuclear fuel.

Western states want a permanent cessation of those activities as an assurance that Iran will never use that know-how to make nuclear bombs.

Saeedi told IRNA that Iran will initially renew unspecified activities "relating to the UCF [Uranium Conversion Facility] project in Isfahan," where a plant converts raw uranium into gases that may be further enriched to be used as civilian fuel or for nuclear bombs.

Iran suspended these activities in November 2004, when it began negotiating with European states on the status of its nuclear program.

But "the Europeans have found no juridical basis for the suspension of uranium enrichment by Iran, and the time for that is now over," Saeedi told IRNA.

He separately told AP that Iran converted 37 tons of uranium ore into UF-4 gas last November. The gas is used in civilian power generation, but also, in more enriched forms, it can be used in bombs.

Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran yesterday that the start of "part of the activities" at the Isfahan plant are Iran's "natural right," and "the rational solution is the continuation of negotiations based on mutual confidence-building and respect for Iran's legitimate right," IRNA reported him as saying.