Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast stressed on Tuesday that Tehran is resolved to continue uranium enrichment to produce nuclear fuel for its power plants and reactors.
"Definitely, the (nuclear) fuel cycle will continue its activity in Iran," Mehman-Parast said in a weekly press conference here in Tehran today.
He stressed Iran's right of nuclear enrichment, and added, "All the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) member states and signatories to the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) are entitled to the right to enrich uranium within the boundaries of peaceful activities."
Available at: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8904151361
The spokesman defended the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities, and stated, "No activity in Iran has been carried out without IAEA cooperation and supervision and none of our enrichment activities has ever been recognized by the Agency as a non-peaceful behavior."
The spokesman further reminded that uranium enrichment to the purity level of 20% is part of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.
Earlier, a top Iranian lawmaker said that Tehran could stop 20% uranium enrichment (not enrichment process) if it receives the nuclear fuel it needs for its Tehran research reactor.
Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
Tehran has dismissed West's demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians' national resolve to continue the path.
2. Nuclear Talks Can Resume Sep if Conditions Met: Iran
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Iran on Tuesday set September 1 as a possible date to resume nuclear talks with six world powers that have been stalled since last October, but insisted conditions set by Tehran must first be met.
The Islamic republic at the same time rejected claims by some of its officials that airports in Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates had refused to refuel its passenger planes, in line with latest US sanctions on Tehran.
Iran's state news agency IRNA reported that the country's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, in a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said Tehran needed three issues clarified by the world powers before it could consider resuming talks.
Ashton, who is negotiating with Iran on behalf of the so-called P5+1 powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany -- had invited Tehran for talks soon after the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on the Islamic republic on June 9.
Jalili said the world powers must answer whether the talks are aimed at "engagement and cooperation or continued confrontation and hostility towards Iranians."
"Will you be committed to the logic of talks which calls for avoiding threats and pressure?" he asked, and added that the six powers must air a "clear view" on the "Zionist regime's nuclear arsenal."
Israel, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, has backed US-led efforts to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability through sanctions, but has also refused to rule out military force.
Iran insists that its nuclear programme is aimed solely at peaceful purposes and says that the international community should focus on Israel, which, unlike Iran, is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
"Your response to the above questions can pave the way for forming talks to allay common global concerns for peace and justice with the presence of other interested countries from September 1," Jalili told Ashton, according to IRNA.
On June 28, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared a two-month freeze until late August on talks with world powers over Iran's nuclear programme, saying it was a "penalty" for backing new UN sanctions on Tehran.
Iran and the world powers had previously held talks in Geneva on October 1 on Tehran's nuclear programme.
Maja Kocijancic, the spokeswoman for Ashton, welcomed Iran's readiness to talk but told reporters in Brussels that the dialogue "would have to be on the nuclear programme of Iran."
Iran has demanded in the past that any talks with world powers on its nuclear activities include discussions on other subjects such as how to achieve world peace.
And on Tuesday, Kazem Jalali, a lawmaker and member of parliament's foreign policy committee, said that the presence of Brazil and Turkey in the talks could be "beneficial."
But he said that a "roadmap is more important to the talks than new countries," according to a report on Mehr news agency.
Brazil and Turkey have sealed a deal with Iran aimed at facilitating a nuclear fuel swap with Russia and France. But talks with world powers on a swap have also been deadlocked since October.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, meanwhile, said the "refuelling" of Iranian passenger planes was "continuing" at airports in Britain, Germany and the Emirates.
On Monday, Mehdi Aliyari, secretary of the Iranian Airlines Union, told ISNA news agency that Iranian planes were being refused fuel at airports in the three countries.
A report in Tuesday's German-language edition of the Financial Times Deutschland said that oil giant BP had not renewed a contract to supply Iranian airlines with fuel after it had expired at the end of June.
The FT Deutschland cited an incident in which an Iran Air plane had to land in Vienna because it had been refused the right to refuel at Hamburg airport in northern Germany.
In another development, the EU announced on Tuesday that it had decided to expand its restrictions on Iran Air, forbidding its fleet of Airbus A320 and Boeing 727 and 747 planes from flying in European airspace.
The decision was based on the conclusions made after a visit to Iran by EU regulators who found that Iran had not implemented safety measures announced in March.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hMoUz0a1_2xEEU6Cada7fUf2lOBQ
Iran's envoy to the IAEA says Iran will continue its cooperation with the agency but stressed Tehran will not compromise on its nuclear rights.
Iran's interaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency is based on principles according to which we will not compromise on our nuclear rights as stipulated in the agency's statute and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Ali Asghar Soltanieh said on Monday.
"[These principles] also include cooperation with the agency according to the Islamic Republic's obligations to the NPT and Safeguards Agreement," IRNA quoted Soltanieh as saying.
Soltanieh said that it is expected from the IAEA to appreciate the "honest cooperation" of Iran.
"Considering that after years of inspection the agency has not found any evidence implying diversion of nuclear material in Iran, it is time a new chapter in the interactions of the IAEA with Iran is opened."
In this way, Iran and other member-states of Non-Aligned Movement's (NAM) trust in the IAEA secretariat and inspection mechanisms will increase, he added.
"The agency should emphasize more than before on nuclear cooperation which is the main reason of its establishment and existence," Soltanieh concluded.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=133533§ionid=351020104
4. Iran Could Halt Uranium Enrichment if Given Fuel: MP
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A top Iranian lawmaker said on Sunday that Tehran could stop refining uranium to 20 percent purity level, the most controversial part of its atomic programme, if it gets nuclear fuel required for a research reactor.
"If the fuel for the Tehran research reactor is given, Iran will not insist on continuing the production of the fuel domestically," state news agency IRNA quoted Alaeddin Borujerdi, head of parliament's commission on foreign policy, as saying.
Iran has infuriated world powers by refining since February uranium to 20 percent level which when converted into fuel plates or rods can be used to power nuclear reactors.
World powers want Iran to suspend the sensitive atomic work, accusing Tehran of secretly aiming to make nuclear weapons. The Islamic republic says its atomic programme is purely for peaceful purposes.
On June 23, Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi said that Iran was "not in a hurry" to produce 20 percent enriched uranium even if it can process five kilograms every month.
"We will adjust the production in a way that the workshop for making the fuel plates is equipped," he said, referring to fuel made from the 20 percent enriched uranium and used to power the Tehran research reactor.
Borujerdi's remarks come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov said on June 29 that the United States, Russia and France had asked the UN atomic watchdog to organise a meeting with Iran over the fuel deal but on a condition that Tehran stops the 20 percent enrichment work.
Iran began enriching uranium to 20 percent level after a deadlock over a nuclear fuel deal drafted by the UN atomic watchdog last October.
That deal envisaged Tehran sending its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for conversion into high enriched material -- 20 percent -- and returned to Iran as fuel for the reactor which makes medical isotopes.
But the deal became bogged down after the two sides levied conditions unacceptable to the other.
In May, Brazil and Turkey brokered a counter proposal to facilitate the uranium exchange.
World powers however cold-shouldered the plan and went ahead and voted for a fourth round of UN sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Borujerdi warned Sunday that if world powers implement the sanctions, they "should not expect Iran to continue the Vienna talks."
He was referring to the fuel deal negotiations in the Austrian capital with the United States, Russia, France and the UN atomic watchdog.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j6vNbUexryNYXNqLp_qKVIRA0dNw
1. SKorea, US to Hold War Games after Any UN Action
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South Korea will hold military exercises with the United States after any possible U.N. action against North Korea over its alleged sinking of a South Korean warship, the South's military said Tuesday.
Seoul has asked the U.N. Security Council to punish Pyongyang over the sinking, which killed 46 South Korean sailors on board. North Korea denies involvement and has warned any punishment would trigger war.
South Korea "will conduct the drills by linking them to the result" of possible U.N. Security Council action against the North, said Col. Lee Bung-woo, a spokesman for South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He did not elaborate on the exact timing and scale of the drills off South Korea's western coast. The exercises were originally scheduled for last month.
Seoul's announcement came days after China held live-fire drills off its eastern coast in what were seen as a response to the planned joint naval exercises by Washington and Seoul.
"We have expressed our concerns to relevant parties," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference Tuesday, referring to the planned joint exercises.
South Korea and the U.S. are pushing for Security Council action against Pyongyang. But the outlook is unclear as veto-wielding permanent members China and Russia have yet to clearly say whether they believe North Korea was responsible for the sinking.
Also Tuesday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry repeated Pyongyang's demand that its own investigators be permitted to go to the South to verify the result of an international investigation led by South Korea that implicated the North. Seoul has rejected the North's request.
In comments carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry also called for working-level military talks with the South to arrange high-level discussions over the issue.
Last month, the U.S.-led U.N. Command — which oversees the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War — proposed military talks with North Korea to discuss the warship sinking. The North declined.
The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against the North.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hP68wYc-SVkurz50Ez4sLGIfoV9wD9GPFCMO1
1. No Problems Facing Jordan-US Nuclear Talks - Sharif
The Jordan Times
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The government on Saturday said that talks between Jordan and the US over a nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA) are ongoing smoothly with no hurdles.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Nabil Sharif told The Jordan Times yesterday that “talks are ongoing to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries and reports of problems hindering this endeavour are baseless”.
He said that there is a high level of coordination and cooperation between Amman and Washington, which “enjoy very close ties”.
Reports have quoted officials as saying that Jordan will not relinquish its right to peaceful nuclear power as guaranteed by international treaties under any nuclear deal with any party.
Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, has been quoted as saying that the country will not follow suit of the United Arab Emirates, which has relinquished all its nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty rights to sensitive nuclear technology indefinitely under a deal with Washington.
Jordan has already signed NCAs with France, Spain, China, South Korea, Canada, Russia, the UK and Argentina. An agreement with Japan was drafted earlier in June and is expected to be signed by the end of this year.
In March, the Kingdom unveiled its first storage facility for radioactive waste, which US officials said was funded in part by the US Department of Energy through its Global Threat Reduction Fund. At the time, US embassy and Department of Energy representatives expressed interest in closer cooperation with Jordan in the nuclear field in the near future.
Jordan, which imports 95 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of 13 per cent of its gross domestic product, is known to have significant uranium reserves, although the full extent of these reserves is not yet known.
Uranium mining activities are currently expected to begin in early 2013.
The Kingdom’s peaceful nuclear energy programme is a central part of its strategy to achieve energy independence and become a net energy exporter by 2030.
Available at: http://www.jordantimes.com/?news=28018
2. Saudi Agrees on Nuclear Energy Pact with France
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The Saudi cabinet agreed on Monday to sign a nuclear cooperation accord with France, which could open the way for French help in developing nuclear power in the oil-rich kingdom.
The agreement is "for the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy," the cabinet announced after its weekly meeting in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.
The pact was first proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in talks with King Abdullah in June 2007 in Paris, and the French side submitted a draft when Sarkozy visited Riyadh in January 2008.
Saudi agreement was delayed while Riyadh undertook last year a formal review of its nuclear policy, which resulted in the April 2010 announcement that the kingdom would establish a new research centre on nuclear and renewable energy.
That was seen as the strongest signal yet that the country, which burns large amounts of oil and natural gas to generate electricity and desalinate sea water for domestic consumption, could develop nuclear power.
No details of the new pact were released, and there was no indication of when Riyadh and Paris would formally sign the agreement.
The holder of around one-fifth of the world's known oil reserves, the Saudis have moved slowly on nuclear energy, despite having signed a bilateral peaceful nuclear cooperation pact with the United States in May 2008.
In December, neighbouring United Arab Emirates awarded a South Korean-led consortium a 20.4-billion-dollar contract for four nuclear power plants.
The Saudi cabinet on Monday also agreed on a draft bilateral tax treaty with France, and on a third pact on cooperation between the Saudi Institute of Public Administration and France's elite Ecole Nationale d'Administration, or ENA.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hQlWp47iZHJNsJ8cL8Hrl467U4vw
France has inked a cooperation agreement with Morocco, pledging to assist the North African country in implementing the plan to build a nuclear reactor.
Following his meeting with Moroccan Prime Minster Abbas El Fassi in Paris, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the deal was "not a commercial deal to build a nuclear reactor."
Rather it is a "framework accord that will help Morocco prepare its entry into the field of nuclear energy," AFP quoted Fillon as saying.
In January 2010, the Moroccan government announced plans for two 1,000-megawatt electricity nuclear reactors to start operation after 2020 as part of efforts to meet growing electricity demand.
"We have already opened up venues for renewable energy, solar and wind power. We had one step left -- that was nuclear," said Fassi.
Morocco has announced plans to enter negotiations with other countries for the construction of its first nuclear reactor.
Fillon has expressed France's readiness to cooperate in building the reactor, saying, "During the second stage, France will naturally make proposals given the excellence of its technology and its firms."
Nuclear energy is the primary source of electricity in France.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=133099§ionid=351020506
4. Turkish Nuclear Plant Deal with Russia Submitted to Parliament
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A Russian-Turkish intergovernmental agreement on the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant has been submitted to the Turkish parliament, national media said on Friday.
The agreement to build the plant near the Mediterranean port of Mersin was signed during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Turkey in May. The plant is expected to be put into operation in 2016-2019.
The head of Russia's state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom, part of a Russian-Turkish consortium for the plant construction, earlier said Russia would maintain a controlling stake in the $18-20-billion project to be implemented by Atomstroyexport, Rosatom's export arm.
Sergei Kiriyenko said the project would also include the creation of a nuclear engineering company which, in the initial phase, will be owned completely by Russia.
The power plant will operate under IAEA guarantees, and the spent nuclear fuel supplied to the plant by Russia will be repatriated.
Moscow and Ankara have successfully cooperated in the energy sphere, including on the Blue Stream gas pipeline project, the South Stream gas pipeline and the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
In early June, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Istanbul for talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the visit, the two countries signed an agreement on the monitoring of nuclear safety and agreed to speed up bilateral energy deals.
Experts say, however, that the construction of the nuclear plant in Turkey will be problematic due to the lack of harmonized legislation between the two countries.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/world/20100702/159661361.html
The heads of Sweden's nuclear power plants have called for the installation of armed rapid reaction forces to be put in place in order to increase security.
The heads of Ringhals, Oskarshamn and Forsmark's plants have proposed the idea in a letter to the Department of the Environment. The unit would be activated if the nuclear plants were to be exposed to acts of sabotage that could lead to a nuclear accident, the local Hallands Nyheter daily has reported.
The force will in "number and armament" respond to what a sabotage group can carry out. This requires an overhaul of legislation and the heads of the three plants want the possibility of a reaction force to be investigated.
The issue has been previously been discussed, when the Environmental Court lay down broad guidelines for the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in 2006, according to Gösta Larsen, a spokesperson for Ringhals.
"It was not included in the verdict, but the question was discussed," he said.
For the nuclear plants, this means that the authorities must demonstrate their engagement in some way.
"We have invested hundreds of millions of kronor in safety in the last five years at Ringhals," said Larsen.
The investments have involved more alarms, security guards, controls and gates. If there is to be a rapid reaction force on standby outside the gates of the plants perimeter, then it is a matter for the society to control, Larsen said.
Available at: http://www.thelocal.se/27016/20100603/
The United States and Vietnam today signed an agreement in Hanoi to begin a cooperative effort to deter, detect and interdict illicit smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material.
The agreement paves the way for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to work with the Ministry of Finance’s General Department of Customs and other government ministries in Vietnam to install radiation detection equipment and an associated communications system at the port of Cai Mep in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
“This agreement represents a major step toward achieving our goal of equipping 100 ports with radiation detection equipment by 2015 and implementing President Obama’s nuclear security agenda,” said Kenneth E. Baker, NNSA’s Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA's Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “Our partnership with Vietnam will greatly strengthen our capability to prevent nuclear and radiological smuggling through the maritime system in a key, strategic region of the world. We appreciate Vietnam’s efforts and commitment to keeping these dangerous materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators.”
In addition to the work at Cai Mep, NNSA and the Ministry of Finance’s General Department of Customs may collaborate on installing radiation detection equipment at other ports in Vietnam in the future. NNSA will also train Vietnamese officials on the use of the equipment and provide for maintenance of the equipment for a specified period.
This effort is part of the NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at border crossings, airports, seaports and other points of entry to install specialized radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The SLD Program also provides training to host government border guard officials and other personnel to detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 230 sites and at 30 Megaports around the world.
Available at: http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/secureseaportcargo070210
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