Iran is not frightened at resuming its uranium and nuclear fuel work. Inspectors of the U.N. nuclear watchdog arrived Monday at a uranium conversion plant near Iran's centralcity of Isfahan to install monitoring equipment before Iran removes the seals and restarts the work there under supervision.
Iran maintains its right to carry out nuclear activity for peaceful purposes, and has rejected the latest European proposals for its nuclear programme.
Work at the Isfahan plant had been suspended since November 2004. "The agency technicians have arrived at the uranium conversion facility to install surveillance cameras," an official who did not wish to be identified told Reuters news agency.
"Later, the seals will be removed," he added, without specifying a time.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said it will take until mid-week to install the surveillance equipment.
Iran had planned to reopen the plant a week ago, but the IAEA said it needed more time to install its cameras there, BBC informs.
Britain, Germany, and France, which are heading nuclear negotiations with Iran for the EU, have called an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors for Tuesday to discuss Iran's uranium conversion case.
The three E.U. countries, known informally as EU3, say they will recommend referring Iran to the Security Council if it goes ahead with plans to break UN seals and to resume work at the Isfahan uranium conversion plant, Boston Globe reports.
On Saturday, Iran rejected an E.U. package of economic and political incentives designed to persuade it to halt nuclear fuel work for good. Yesterday, it said it would restart the Isfahan plant as soon as surveillance equipment from the IAEA is in place.
"The European proposal has no value," state television quoted Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi as saying. ''We will insist on our rights, and have decided to resume Isfahan activities as the first step of our measures. This does not mean we will stop negotiations with Europe."
The German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, said Iran faces economic sanctions if it refuses to accept the EU proposals. "I don't think anyone . . . is thinking about a military confrontation," he said.
"If Iran doesn't back down, one has to expect it will be referred to the Security Council," Schroeder said. "If that happens, we will be talking about possible sanctions. This would not be good for either side. Therefore, I have to say I am very worried by Iran's apparent decision to choose a course of confrontation."
The EU plan reportedly offered recognition of Iran's right to produce nuclear power for civilian purposes, as well improved trade relations with the EU and guarantees of alternative nuclear fuel sources from Europe and Russia.
In return, the Europeans reportedly insisted that Tehran should permanently give up nuclear enrichment and construction of a heavy-water reactor, which could be used to make a bomb.
Last week, Tehran said work at the uranium conversion plant near Isfahan would start again on Wednesday and cited lack of progress in talks with the UK, France and Germany.