Reuters: The United States wants Europe to take a harder line toward Iran if Washington supports incentives for Tehran and Iranian authorities still refuse to give up their nuclear program, U.S. officials said on Friday.
Reuters: Iran underlined its resolve on Friday to never abandon its nuclear fuel programme, with a leading politician saying U.S. and European Union demands for it to do so would only stir up trouble. Washington accuses Iran of seeking to make nuclear fuel for atomic warheads, whereas Tehran says it is only needed for use in power stations.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Mar. 04 Iran today threatened to end its nuclear agreement with the European Union "big three", saying that it would not be bound to previous commitments, if they continued to call for permanent suspension of uranium enrichment by the Iranian regime. If the Europeans do not abide by the Iran-EU nuclear agreement and ask for a permanent suspension of uranium enrichment, Iran will not fulfill its commitments, the regime's spokesman Abdollah ...
AFP: Top Iranian officials gave fresh signals Friday that Tehran will reject a demand from Britain, France and Germany that it completely halt sensitive nuclear activities in return for a package of incentives.
Speaking in a Friday prayer sermon, top cleric and powerful ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned the European Union, the United States and the UN's atomic watchdog that they were facing "trouble" for pressuring Iran to abandon fuel cycle work.
AFP: Allowing Iran to join the World Trade Organisation should not be considered as an incentive during nuclear negotiations with the European Union, its commerce minister was quoted as saying Friday. "Whether the United States and Europe accept it or not, this is not a favour to Iran and they cannot demand something from Iran in return," Mohammad Shariatmadari told the student news agency ISNA.
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Mar. 04 Border-police in the central Iraqi province of Wassit said that they have arrested 1,500 Iranians who had entered the country illegally with the intention of distributing illegal drugs. The group had entered onto Iraqi soil via the Badra region, on the border with Iran, without any identity cards, passports or travel documents, according to a border-police source.
Los Angeles Times: The Bush administration is considering a more aggressive effort to foster opposition inside Iran and seeking ways to use a new $3-million fund to support activists without exposing them to the risk of arrest. The approach would represent a change since President Bush's first term, when the administration was more wary of such potentially dangerous moves, officials said.
Reuters: Iran says it wants to break U.N. seals and test "essential" parts for machines for nuclear work, diplomats said, adding this showed Iran's freeze on activity which could produce atomic weapons would be short-lived.
Washington Post - Editorial: THE CHANCES that the West will succeed in peacefully restraining Iran from building nuclear weapons have been looking dismal at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency this week. The agency's staff reported that Iran was still not fully cooperating with its investigation into the secret uranium enrichment program Tehran began 18 years ago.
New York Times: President Bush, working to define a common strategy with Europe to get Iran to dismantle its suspected nuclear weapons program, conferred Thursday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about what the Iranian government must do as its part of any agreement, according to American and European officials.
Washington Post: The Bush administration is now seeking guarantees from Europe that allies will back punitive measures against Iran if diplomatic talks do not result in agreement by the Islamic republic to permanently abandon any ambitions of developing a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. and European officials.
AFP: Iran has shown "no indication" it is interested in a European-brokered deal to renounce its suspected nuclear arms ambitions, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday. Speaking to reporters after talks with Danish Foreign Minister Stig Moeller, Rice backed the initiative by France, Germany and Britain to offer Tehran incentives if it will give up its suspected nuclear program.
Boston Blobe - Editorial: PRESIDENT BUSH should travel more. After recent discussions in Europe with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Bush told his foreign policy advisers to come up with incentives that the French, Germans, and British could offer to Iran if its clerical regime were to renounce, verifiably, its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
UPI: The White House accused Iran Thursday of trying to shape Iraq's transitional government and said such actions needed to stop. Spokesman Scott McClellan did not detail how that influence was being exerted. "We have had increasing concerns about Iran trying to influence the shape of the transitional government," he said. "This must be an Iraqi process free from outside interference, especially from those in the neighborhood."
AP: The White House says it's another worrying sign -- word from a U-N nuclear agency that Iran is building tunnels to shield its nuclear facilities. Diplomats in Vienna, where the agency's headquartered, report the tunnels would protect key elements of Iran's program from air attacks by America or Israel. Press Secretary Scott McClellan says the report raises fresh concerns about Iran's "behavior" and "intentions."
Reuters: Iran has started building a research reactor that could eventually produce enough plutonium for one bomb per year, ignoring calls to scrap the project, diplomats close to the United Nations said on Thursday.
AP: Fearing airstrikes, Iran is using reenforced materials and tunneling deep underground to store nuclear components - measures meant to make the facility resistant to "bunker busters" and other special weaponry, diplomats said Thursday. The diplomats spoke as a 35-nation meeting of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency ended more than three days of deliberations focusing on Iran and North Korea, which are both accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.