Iran 'will press on with uranium enrichment'
Iran 'will press on with uranium enrichment'
The comments by Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, signalled continued defiance in the face of international demands that Tehran halt enrichment to the higher 20 percent fissile purity level, close down its Fordow enrichment plant, and ship out its stockpile of the material.
But Abbasi-Davani also said Iran would continue and possibly raise its output of reactor fuel using 20 percent enriched uranium, which could allay concerns that a growing stockpile of the higher-grade material could be put to making atom bombs.
Diplomacy between Iran and the world powers - the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, and Britain — has been deadlocked since a June meeting that ended without breakthrough.
Both sides now say they want to resume talks soon, after this month’s re-election of US President Barack Obama.
Diplomats expect a new meeting in Istanbul later this year or in January. One diplomatic source said the powers would propose the first half of December but that the following month was more likely.
Iran has faced a tightening of Western trade sanctions in the last two years, with the United States and its allies hoping the measures will force Iran to curb its nuclear program.
“Despite the sanctions, most likely this year we will have a substantial growth in centrifuge machines and we will continue enrichment with intensity,” state television quoted Abbasi-Davani as saying. The Iranian calendar year ends on March 20.
But Abbasi-Davani did not say whether Iran would increase the work that most worries the West, the higher-grade enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, as opposed to the lower-grade enrichment to 3.5 percent level needed for nuclear power plants.
Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’
- he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
- Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.
JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.
The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.
The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News.
“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.
“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”
Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said.
Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.
Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.
“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”
He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”