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Europe

EU Calls on Iran to Halt Uranium Enrichment to Save Talks

The European Union called on Iran Saturday not to resume its nuclear activities as planned next week, saying they would violate resolutions of the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency and jeopardize talks.

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Iranians are likely to be celebrating a show of defiance this week as enrichment restarts

A statement issued by current EU president Austria said the bloc "urges Iran not to take this step which would violate both the letter and the spirit of the eight previous resolutions."

"The EU regrets that Iran has chosen to announce this unilateral move at a moment when international confidence in the peaceful nature of its program is far from restored," it added.

"It finds it surprising and unreasonable that Iran proposes to do this at a moment when ... Britain, France and Germany with the EU were exploring with Iran the possibility of a return to negotiations.

"Resumption of activities and such disregard for the repeated wishes of the IAEA Board of Governors can only seriously jeopardize the possibility of a return to negotiations."

Nuclear research to resume next week

Überprüfung iranischer Nuklearanlagen

Against the wishes of the EU and the US, research will begin again after a two-year hiatus.

Despite the warning, a senior Iranian nuclear official confirmed Saturday that Tehran will end its more than two year suspension of nuclear fuel research Monday or Tuesday by removing seals on equipment in the presence of IAEA inspectors.

The announcement of the research resumption sparked a warning from the United States that it was ready to seek the referral of Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council for enforcement action.

Washington charges that the program is a cover for weapons development, an accusation Tehran strongly denies.

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