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Thread: Europe Offers Iran Light Water Reactor

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    Default Europe Offers Iran Light Water Reactor

    European nations may give Iran a reactor

    May 16, 2006

    BY GEORGE JAHN ASSOCIATED PRESS
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    VIENNA, Austria-- Key European nations are considering offering Iran a light-water nuclear reactor as part of incentives meant to persuade Tehran to give up its uranium enrichment program, a senior diplomat said Tuesday.

    But a U.S. official said Washington would likely oppose the plan.

    A senior diplomat familiar with international attempts to dissuade Iran from enrichment said the tentative plans still were being discussed among France, Britain and Germany as part of a possible package to be presented Friday to senior representatives of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was divulging confidential information.

    In Britain, officials confirmed the offer was among options to be discussed at the London talks but said suggestions that it had been decided on as part of the incentives were premature.

    "Clearly we are working out the details and that will be a matter for the talks in London," a British Foreign Office spokesman said on condition of anonymity, in line with government policy.

    A light-water reactor is considered less likely to be misused for nuclear proliferation than the heavy water facility Iran is currently building at the central city of Arak, which--once completed--will produce plutonium waste.

    Still, light-water reactors are also not proliferation-proof because they use enriched uranium as fuel. While uranium enriched to low levels cannot be used in a weapons programs, it can be processed relatively easily to high "weapons-grade" material, for use as the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

    Iran recently managed to produce its first batch of low-enriched uranium. Concerns were heightened last week by revelations that inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency had found traces of uranium enriched to levels higher than used for fuel--although not yet weapons-grade--at a former research facility linked to the Iranian military.

    Fears that Iran's enrichment program could be misused for weapons are at the center of international attempts to strip Tehran of ambitions to enrich uranium domestically. Any European offer of one or more light-water reactors would have to be conditional on Iran rejecting its enrichment plans and accepting foreign deliveries of low-enriched uranium for fuel--something it has hitherto steadfastly rejected.

    Washington has been at the forefront of moves to pressure Iran to give up domestic enrichment and has in recent months swung behind a proposal from Moscow to provide Tehran with fuel-grade uranium produced in Russia instead.

    In an initial reaction, a U.S. official told The Associated Press that any plan to offer the Iranians a light-water reactor "would be met with a real sense of skepticism" by the Americans. Even in the unlikely event that the Iranians gave up plans of domestic enrichment in return, such a facility could help them acquire the technology to develop a full-fledged nuclear program with the potential for misuse, he said.

    "If Iran is bent on having a nuclear weapons program, we ought not to be helping with that," said the official, echoing U.S. assertions that Iran's activities were a cover for developing the atomic bomb.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

    In a sign of persisting differences with the United States, Russia's foreign minister said Beijing and Moscow will not vote for the use of force in resolving the nuclear dispute.

    After two days of talks with his Chinese counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow and Beijing hold identical positions on the nuclear programs by Iran and North Korea: Both disputes require diplomacy, not force.

    In an outreach to Tehran, Lavrov also said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend a summit meeting next month in Shanghai of leaders from Russia, China and four Central Asian nations.

    "We cannot isolate Iran or exert pressure on it. Far from resolving this issue of proliferation, it will make it more urgent," Lavrov told reporters. "Russia and China will not vote for the use of force in resolving this issue."

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, at a separate briefing, also urged more energetic efforts to restart negotiations. "We believe that at the current stage relevant parties should make active gestures to launch a new round of diplomacy," Liu said.
    http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/iran16.html

    Sounds like a good idea to me but of course it looks like Washington will not allow it.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Europe Offers Iran Light Water Reactor

    Of course not. Washington wants regime change. Any chance to resolve this diplomatically, like Iraq, will be met with resistance.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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