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RFE/RL Iran Report


Vol. 9, No. 30, 14 August 2006







UN REPORTS IRAN'S QUEST FOR AFRICAN URANIUM - A shipment of uranium-238 mined in Congo and destined for Bandar Abbas was intercepted by customs officials in Tanzania in October, "The Sunday Times" reported on August 6, citing a July 18 United Nations report. U-238 has nuclear-weapon applications. The uranium was hidden in a shipment of coltan, which is used to make chips for mobile telephones. High radiation levels were found in a routine Geiger-counter scan of the shipment.


"The container was put in a secure part of the port and it was later taken away, by the Americans, I think, or at least with their help," a Tanzanian customs official was quoted as saying. "The Sunday Times" added that the report has been submitted to UN sanctions committee Chairman Oswaldo de Rivero and the Security Council will soon take it under onsideration.


Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani said on August 6 that this report is "untrue" and is an example of U.S. "psychological war," state television reported. "We do not need uranium, we have uranium mines and the facilities to convert the uranium to yellowcake; therefore, under such circumstances, it is not logical for us to ship such cargos."

Congolese government spokesman Henri Mova Sakanyi denied that his country sold U-238 to Iran, Radio France Internationale reported on 10 August. He described the allegation as a part of an effort to implicate the Congo in the Iraniannuclear issue. (Bill Samii)


TEHRAN HINTS AT WILLINGNESS TO DISCUSS NUCLEAR TOPICS AND ISSUES VEILED ECONOMIC THREAT - Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani said on August 6 that Iran will reject UN Security Council Resolution 1696 of July 31, which orders Iran to halt sensitive nuclear activities by the end of August or face possible economic sanctions, Radio Farda, IRNA, and state television reported.


Larijani described the resolution as "illegal" because the country is not in violation of its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations. Larijani said Iran wants to resolve the situation through negotiations and that a change in Western behavior could persuade Iran to change its policy.


However, Larijani said Iran will not suspend its uranium-enrichment activities, adding, "We will expand nuclear technology at whatever stage it may be necessary, and all of Iran's nuclear technology, including the centrifuge cascades, will be expanded."


Larijani questioned the logic of submitting a proposal to resolve the issue in early June and then issuing the resolution before Iran has completed its review of the proposal. Tehran has declared that it will respond by August 22 to the incentives package delivered by EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana on June 6.


Larijani said on August 6 that the imposition of sanctions against Iran would have consequences that could hurt the West, state television reported. "There are so many repercussions in the international domain and they those imposing sanctions will

lose more than us," he said. "They should not think that they can hurt us and that we will not react." In an apparent reference to withholding oil exports, Larijani said: "They should not force us so that they shiver in the cold themselves or suffer other problems.... We will respond in a way that will be sufficiently painful for them."


U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Gregory Schulte rejected Iranian claims of the illegality of Security Council Resolution 1696 in an interview with Radio Farda on August 8. Schulte said the resolution reflects Iran's conduct of activities that are counter to its NPT obligations. The resolution is not directed against the Iranian people, Schulte insisted, but is the result of actions by the country's leadership.


Piruz Mujtahedzadeh, a professor of geopolitics at Tehran's Tarbiat Mudariss University and chairman of the London-based Urosevic Research Foundation, told Radio Farda that the Security Council does not have the authority to pass Resolution 1696. (Bill Samii)


ENVOY SAYS IRAN STUDYING RUSSIAN FUEL PROPOSALS - Iranian Ambassador to Russia Gholamreza Ansari said in Moscow on August 9 that Tehran is still studying a Russian offer to have fuel made for its nuclear program inside Russia, Mehr agency reported, citing ITAR-TASS (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," December 14, 2005). The proposal "made last being discussed and has been approved by Iranian leaders," Ansari said. He claimed that "unfortunately developments with the atomic dossier prevented us from finding suitable conditions to discuss this in detail." Ansari added, "We have no problem buying fuel from Russia or other international centers, but we intend to use this technology, because this is an issue closely related to the independence and future of our country." Iran says it wishes to make fuel for a program strictly designed to generate electricity and for research, although some governments fear it will use fuel-making know-how to make bombs.


In Tehran, a member of the parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Hamid Reza Haji-Babai, said on August 9 that any resolution by UN Security Council members to "restrict politically" or impose sanctions on Iran will prompt parliament to vote to restrict UN inspections of Iran's atomic installations, ISNA reported. (Vahid Sepehri)


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