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Iran issue: Compromise hopes dim
A Special Correspondent in Vienna | November 18, 2005 14:16 IST
Days before the November 24 International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors meeting, the Iran nuclear issue has reared its head up again.
Iran on Wednesday began to process a new batch of uranium ore into what can be reactor fuel or nuclear bomb material.
In its September 24 vote, the IAEA had urged Iran not to resume uranium conversion. Teheran had resumed uranium reprocessing at its Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, central Iran, in early August.
The IAEA is to meet on the matter on Thursday in Vienna.
According to a diplomat directly involved in the negotiations on the issue at the IAEA, Vienna said Friday that with the new development, the hopes of finding a compromise solution have receded.
He also clarified that the compromise proposal -- for Iran to get its converted gas enriched in Moscow -- was not a European Union proposal, but a Russian one.
It appeared as though the Iranians were willing to consider it. The EU-3 had merely shown some interest in it. The Russians were as surprised as the rest of the world that Iran had resumed conversion as they were given to understand that the suspension of conversion would last longer.
"Now we are back to square one!" the diplomat said. He also revealed that the IAEA director general had postponed a visit to Teheran.
The diplomat, however, expressed the hope that another vote would not be taken in Thursday's IAEA meeting.
The September vote, with India´s support, was the best that the Americans could have got and they would not want to dilute that position, he said.