U.S. President George W Bush warned that Iran may face U.N. sanctions over its nuclear ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency will meet again today to decide on a resolution about Iran's decision to resume uranium processing.
The IAEA's board of directors met Tuesday to discuss Iran's resumption of uranium processing at its nuclear plant in the central city of Isfahan. The Iranian government said it will break seals on other parts of the plant today to continue the process, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported, without providing the source of its information or further details.
"I expect a resolution to be introduced" today, Ereli told reporters at a State Department press briefing in Washington yesterday. Ereli wouldn't comment on the contents of the resolution.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country is willing to continue discussions on its nuclear program, a development U.S. President George W. Bush called a "positive sign" that might head off harsher action by the U.S. and European allies, Bloomberg reminds.
"We are ready to proceed with talks," Ahmadinejad, who came into office last week, said in a statement issued Tuesday by Iran's state-run news agency.
President Bush has long expressed doubts over Iranian assurances that its nuclear program is designed solely for peaceful energy purposes. Speaking with reporters at his Texas ranch, Mr. Bush said Iran's recent actions provide additional cause for concern.
"We are very deeply suspicious of their [nuclear] desires and call upon our friends in Europe, the EU-3 - Germany, France and Great Britain to lead the diplomatic effort to convince the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions," he was quoted as saying by Voice of America.
The president said the United States remains committed to working with European nations Britain, France and Germany, to achieve a long term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
"It is important for the Iranians to understand that America stands squarely with the EU-3, that we feel strongly the Iranians need to adhere to the agreements made in the Paris accord, and that we would be willing to work with our partners in dealing with appropriate consequences should they ignore the demands," he added.
President Bush said those consequences could include taking the matter to the U.N Security Council, where Iran could face international sanctions.
"We don't want the Iranians to have a nuclear weapon," he was quoted as saying by IranMania. "We'll work with our friends on steps forward, on ways to deal with the Iranians if they so choose to ignore the demands of the world.
At the same time, Mr. Bush cautiously welcomed news reports from Iran quoting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying he would be presenting a proposal of his own in the near future. Mr. Bush noted, however, that any Iranian initiatives would have to be reviewed carefully in light of previous instances where Iran was, as the president put it, "caught" enriching uranium, an activity he described as dangerous.
Iranian nuclear workers on Aug. 8 began feeding uranium ore concentrate into the first part of its process line, the IAEA said Tuesday.
Iran says it's pursuing nuclear power to hedge against diminishing oil reserves. Its existing crude production is depleting at an annual rate of as much as 9.5 percent, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on July 27. Iran is the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Energy needs in Iran are expected to double in the next 20 years to about 60,000 megawatts annually. The government wants to generate about 7,000 megawatts of nuclear power for the country's 68 million people.