Iran extends freeze on nuclear fuel cycle programme

8 June 2005

Iran is to extend its suspension of its nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment, until the end of July, a measure giving European negotiators time to prepare a proposal it can accept.

Iran recently agreed to review a European Union proposal for a new round of negotiations this summer, but suspension of its enrichment programme is seen as a precondition for talks in Europe. Ali Aghamohammadi, a spokesman for Iran's Supreme National Security Council, is quoted as saying: "The Europeans have time up to the end of July to prepare details of their proposal," adding, "To make Iran's nuclear facilities active in a proper way, both sides should work toward providing guarantees."

No date has been set for the summer negotiations.

Iran maintains its programme is peaceful, but the EU and the USA are concerned it may be used to develop weapons.

While Iran has injected some breathing space into the international crisis it has set out conditions to expedite the talks, including the demand that three joint working groups and a steering committee meet before the end of July.

Meanwhile, with presidential elections due in late June, movement on the uranium issue may be just around the corner. Leading candidate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has promised to engage with the international community at large and is seen as a reformer when compared with incumbent President Mohammed Khatemi.

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