December 4th 2004

  Buy Issue 2696

Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The rise of Condoleezza Rice

EDITORIAL: Corporate power ... and the public interest

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Talent gap widens between major parties

CENSORSHIP: Nicole Kidman in controversial movie

ECONOMICS: Productivity report driven by ideology

FINANCE: Day of reckoning for Australia's debt binge?

RURAL AFFAIRS: The National Party's Telstra sale dilemma

NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION PART 1: Iran backs down on uranium enrichment

NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION PART 2: US doubtful about Tehran's intentions

VIET TAN: New reform party launched for Vietnam

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Uncharted territory / The Zamindars / Labor's performance / The Light on the Hill

SEX EDUCATION: Telling teens the truth - 'cool' virginity, abstinence and faithful marriage

US ELECTIONS: Christians eat lions in 2004 election

China's stand-off with Taiwan (letter)

Labor needs heart transplant (letter)

Saddam's secret weapons (letter)

BOOKS: MONASH: The outsider who won a war, by Roland Perry

THE CRISIS OF ISLAM: Holy War and Unholy Terror, by Bernard Lewis

BOOKS: Non-Alignment and Peace versus Military Alignment and War

Books promotion page

Iran backs down on uranium enrichment

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, December 4, 2004
Under massive pressure from West European countries and the United States, Iran has agreed to suspend "temporarily" its uranium enrichment program which Western nations believe is being used to produce highly enriched uranium which could be used in nuclear weapons.

Iran had maintained that the purpose of its nuclear program is the generation of power - any other use being a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which it is a signatory.

It claims that nuclear power is necessary for its booming population and rapidly industrialising nation, and, despite large oil reserves, it regularly imports gasoline and electricity. It continues to argue that its valuable oil should be used for high-value products, not simple electricity generation.

However, the particular technology employed can also be used to produce highly-enriched uranium, which can produce nuclear weapons.

Iranian emigré organisations have repeatedly warned the US and the European powers that Iran has a covert nuclear weapons program.

The issue came to a head late last year, when the US said Teheran must be "held accountable" for allegedly seeking to build nuclear arms in violation of its agreements. Iran heatedly denied this, but refused to permit American inspection of its facilities.

In June last year, Mohamed El-Baradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declares that "Iran failed to report certain nuclear materials and activities" and requested "co-operative actions" from Iran.

The IAEA sealed the Iranian enrichment facilities, pending clarification of their roles, while the IAEA inspected all known Iranian nuclear facilities, but found that none were involved in nuclear weapons development.

Last July, Iran broke the seals on the plants, and announced that it would resume uranium enrichment.

In October, the European Union offered Iran civilian nuclear technology in exchange for Iran terminating its uranium enrichment program permanently. Iran rejects this outright.

At that stage, the US has proposed taking Iran to the UN Security Council, which has power to invoke sanctions, or take other action against Iran.

  • Peter Westmore

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