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Australian FM disappointed by Iran's decision to restart nuclear research
Updated: 2006-01-11 13:39

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Wednesday expressed his disappointment over Iran's decision to resume nuclear research activities.

Iran removed seals on its nuclear research sites and resumed the fuel research activities on Tuesday, despite international calls to refrain from resuming sensitive nuclear work.

Mohammad Saeedi, deputy chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the activities at nuclear fuel facilities were resumed under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.

To dilute the sensitivity of the move, Saeedi reiterated Iran's position that the research work should not be viewed as related to the actual production, promising to keep suspension on uranium enrichment.

A group of IAEA inspectors arrived in Tehran on Friday to supervise Iran's resumption of nuclear research activities after its dissuasion effort failed.

"I am extremely disappointed by Iran's removal yesterday of International Atomic Energy Agency seals at its Natanz uranium enrichment research facility, and by Iran's stated intention to undertake uranium enrichment research," Downer said in a statement.

He said uranium enrichment is a key technology for producing nuclear fuel but also nuclear weapons, adding Australia sees no need for Iran to undertake this research.

"This is the second time in five months that Iran has broken IAEA seals at sensitive nuclear facilities," he said.

"Australia has been extremely concerned about Iran's nuclear activities because of Iran's record of concealment over nearly two decades," he said.

Downer said he has asked Australia's ambassador to Tehran to convey Australia's serious concern about Iran's actions and to urge Iran to reverse these latest steps.

He said Australia will be consulting closely with colleagues on the IAEA Board of Governors to determine the next diplomatic steps.

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