TEHRAN, 26 July 2005 — Iran will resume some sensitive nuclear work no matter what the Europeans offer in their negotiations with Tehran, outgoing President Mohammad Khatami said.
“We have suspended work in Isfahan (at a uranium conversion facility) for two months until the EU puts forward its new practical proposals. Of course, it will not be extended,” Khatami said on Sunday.
The EU-3 - Britain, France and Germany - have been holding talks to encourage Iran to provide long-term guarantees that its nuclear program is purely civil in return for various trade and political incentives.
While the talks are ongoing, Iran has agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, a process in the manufacture of fuel for nuclear power stations but which can be also used to make atomic weapons.
Khatami, whose term in office ends early next month, said however that the conversion work at Isfahan “has nothing to do with uranium enrichment,” and that the ball was now in the European court.
“We have made it clear that suspension of uranium enrichment will not be forever. We have displayed our good faith. Now, it is the turn of the European friends to do in line with the commitments they have made about the matter.” The Europeans fear that Iran could take a harder line on its nuclear policy when Khatami’s successor, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, takes office on Aug. 3.
But Khatami said: “We will never overlook our legal and national right for possessing nuclear technology and fuel cycle to generate electricity. Iran will never change its national policy in this respect.”
Meanwhile, lawyers representing the family of a Canadian photographer who died in custody in Iran said yesterday she was deliberately killed and demanded an impartial court retry the case. Zahra Kazemi, a Montreal-based photojournalist, died in July 2003 after her skull was split after being arrested for taking photographs outside Tehran’s Evin prison where many political dissidents are held.
“Forensic reports show her head was hit in two spots and this cannot be unintentional,” 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, one of the four lawyers acting for Kazemi’s family, told the court hearing.
But the judge said a preliminary court had already found the killing had been ‘unintentional’ and said yesterday’s hearing was not in a position to discuss the issue.
Ebadi said previous courts were biased and asked the Judiciary to send the case to an impartial court.