Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Monday, 1 August 2005 19:22 UK

Text: Iran's letter to UN nuclear watchdog

Text of the letter sent by Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency explaining plans to restart uranium conversion.

Extraneous pressures prevented timely and serious consideration by E3 [Germany, France and Britain]/EU of this proposal which has the potential of providing a framework in which concerns of all sides are reasonably allayed.

Even Iran's further effort to salvage the process by suggesting the negotiated commencement of implementation of phase 1 of that proposal on limited resumption of the work of the UCF [uranium conversion facility] - which had never had any past alleged failures, and is virtually proliferation free - with additional confidence-building and surveillance and monitoring measures was misconstrued by the E3/EU as an ultimatum.

In order to correct any wrong perception about an ultimatum and to ensure that no opportunity was spared for an agreed settlement, Iran agreed to extend the period of full suspension for another two months, in response to a commitment made by the E3/EU ministers in Geneva to finally present their comprehensive package for the implementation of the Paris Agreement by the end of July or early August 2005, that is nearly nine months after the agreement.

Iran made it clear in Geneva that any proposal by the E3/EU must incorporate E3/EU's perception of objective guarantees for the gradual resumption of the Iranian enrichment programme, and that any attempt to turn objective guarantees into cessation or long-term suspension were incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement and therefore unacceptable to Iran.

Eager to salvage the negotiations, in a message to the ministers, Iran offered the most flexible solution to the E3/EU as they were finalising their package:

  • Commencement of the work of Isfahan plant (UCF) at low capacity and under full scope monitoring, while arrangements for import of the feed material and export of the product are worked out with you and other potential partners; (negotiations on these arrangements have already started and preliminary agreement has been reached.)

  • Further negotiations on a mutually acceptable arrangement for an initial limited operation at Natanz or allowing the agency to develop an optimised arrangement on numbers, monitoring mechanism and other specifics for such an initial limited operation at Natanz;

  • Negotiations for full-scale operation of Natanz would continue on the premise that it would be synchronized with the fuel requirements of light water reactors.

Against all its sincere efforts and maximum flexibility, Iran has not received a proposal as of today, and all public and diplomatic information, particularly the letter of 29 July 2005 of the E3 Ministers, indicate that the content of the eventual proposal will be totally unacceptable.

We have been informed that the proposal not only fails to address Iran's rights for peaceful development of nuclear technology, but even falls far short of correcting the illegal and unjustified restrictions placed on Iran's economic and technological development, let alone providing firm guarantees for economic, technological and nuclear co-operation and firm commitments on security issues.

While we had made it crystal clear that no incentive would be sufficient to compromise Iran's inalienable right to all aspects of peaceful nuclear technology, such offers of incentives are in and of themselves demeaning and totally incommensurate with Iran and its vast capabilities, potentials and requirements.

It is now self-evident that negotiations are not proceeding as called for in the Paris Agreement, due to E3/EU policy to protract the negotiations without the slightest attempt to move forward in fulfilling their commitments under the Tehran or Paris Agreements.

This protracted continuation is solely geared to serve the purpose of keeping the suspension in place for as long as it takes to make the cessation a fait accompli. This is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Paris Agreement and is not in line with principles of good faith negotiations.

After such (a) long period of negotiations and so much that Iran has done to restore confidence and the flexibility that it has shown, there is no pretext for any further delay in the implementation of the first phase of Iran's proposal, by limited resumption of UCF at Isfahan, which is free from any past alleged failures, and is virtually proliferation free. With additional proposed arrangements, it should leave no excuse for anyone.

It must be underlined that all states party to the NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty], without discrimination, have an inalienable right to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. As this right is "inalienable", it cannot be undermined or curtailed under any pretext. Any attempt to do so, would be an attempt to undermine a pillar of the treaty and indeed the treaty itself. Iran, like any other Non-Nuclear Weapon State, has no obligation to negotiate and seek agreement for the exercise of its "inalienable" right, nor can it be obligated to suspend it.

Suspension of uranium enrichment, or any derivative of such suspension, is a voluntary and temporary confidence-building measure, effectuated by Iran in order to enhance co-operation and close the chapter of denials of access to technology imposed by the west on Iran. It is not an end in itself, nor can be it construed or turned into a permanent abandonment of a perfectly lawful activity, thereby perpetuating, rather than easing, the pattern of denial of access to technology.

The suspension has been in place for nearly 20 months, with all its economic and social ramifications affecting thousands of families. The E3/EU has failed to remove any of its multifaceted restrictions on Iran's access to advanced and nuclear technology. In a twist of logic, it has attempted to prolong the suspension, thereby trying to effectively widen its restrictions instead of fulfilling its commitments of October 2003 and November 2004 to remove them.

As the IAEA Board of Governors has underlined, suspension "is a voluntary, non-legal binding confidence-building measure". When the board itself explicitly recognises that suspension is "not a legally-binding obligation", no wording by the board can turn this voluntary measure into an essential element for anything. In fact the Board of Governors has no factual or legal ground, nor any statutory power, to make or enforce such a demand, or impose ramifications as a consequence of it.

In light of the above, Iran has decided to resume the uranium conversion activities at the UCF in Isfahan on 1 August 2005.

The agency is hereby requested to be prepared for the implementation of the safeguards-related activities in a timely manner prior to the resumption of the UCF activities.

The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to ensure that no effort is spared in order to reach a negotiated resumption of its enrichment activities. It is therefore, prepared to continue in good faith and in an expeditious and result-oriented manner, its negotiations with E3/EU. Meanwhile, Iran will continue to maintain its voluntary suspension of all enrichment-related activities. It is to be noted that the UCF was not originally considered by the agency to be included in such category.

Iran is committed to non-proliferation and elimination of nuclear weapons, and considers nuclear weapons and capability to produce or acquire them as detrimental to its security. Iran will continue to abide by its obligations under the NPT and will continue to work actively for the establishment of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations and other international organisations in Vienna requests the Secretariat this Note to be officially circulated as INFCIRC [information circular] document and avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Secretariat of the IAEA the assurances of its highest consideration.

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