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Government confirms Iran's bid to suspend enrichment Monday

Tehran, Nov 22, IRNA -- Iran said it will start suspending uranium enrichment as of Monday, making good on its word which it gave at a recent agreement with the Europeans.

Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, however, stressed that it was Tehran's prerogative to specify 'the extent and duration of the suspension'.

"This suspension depends on the commitment of the opposite party and we will test this at the next board of governors' meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he told reporters at his weekly news briefing.

"We have voluntarily accepted suspension, since we have no legal obligation in this regard, having done this to bolster general confidence at the regional and international level," he added.

In a confidence-building measure, Iran agreed in its meeting with the three EU states in Paris last week to suspend all activities elated to uranium enrichment in order to avoid a probable showdown.

Uranium enrichment is allowed under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Iran is a signatory, and the country wants it as part of its efforts to master a nuclear fuel cycle.

On Thursday, the IAEA's board of governors is to discuss the nature of Iran's nuclear activities, which the country stresses is aimed at power generation.

Tehran has to prove its nuclear program is civilian or risk being hauled to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The United States is trying to persuade the world over its allegations that Tehran's nuclear program is a front to build atomic weapons, and pave the way for referral of Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

But, the EU trio of Germany, France and Britain pursue a different line, having offered Iran a package of economic incentives in return for suspending uranium enrichment.

The European trio have reached a 'preliminary' deal with Iran, under which Tehran would halt an enrichment program in exchange for political and economic incentives.

Under the deal, Iran would freeze all nuclear fuel enrichment and reprocessing activities until it has reached a final agreement with the EU over a package of economic, technological and security incentives in return for abandoning nuclear activities.

The EU incentives reportedly include a guaranteed supply of reactor fuel, assistance to construction of a light-water power reactor and a resumption of stalled trade talks.

While the Europeans have called on Iran to agree to an indefinite freeze on enrichment, Tehran has expressly stated that it cannot be induced to scrapping the process for good.

... Payvand News - 11/22/04 ... --

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