Iran resumes uranium conversion
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran has restarted a nuclear facility for uranium conversion, saying the process is for producing nuclear fuel.
Tehran said Monday's resumption would not include the enrichment of uranium, which the United States and some other countries fear could be part of a covert nuclear weapons program.
Iran denies any plans to build nuclear weapons.
In a brief statement carried by the state-run news agency IRNA, Tehran said activities at the Isfahan facility resumed Monday evening.
The government also said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- the United Nations' nuclear watchdog -- installed surveillance cameras at Isfahan to monitor nuclear activities.
Iran had suspended all nuclear work under international pressure. But Tehran said Monday there was no rule against its resuming uranium conversion.
However, the issue of uranium conversion has prompted calls for the issue to be considered by the U.N. Security Council for possible economic or political sanctions, The Associated Press reported.
"It's now clear that the best course of action is to refer the case directly to the U.N. Security Council," Farid Soleimani, a senior official with the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, was quoted by AP as saying.
On Saturday, Iran said it would reject a package of proposals from European negotiators which offered long-term support for Iran's civil nuclear program as long as the country does not develop nuclear weapons. (Full story)
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told the state news agency IRNA the proposal "is not acceptable."
Britain, Germany and France are leading the EU's nuclear negotiations with Iran. They have called an emergency meeting of the IAEA board of governors for Tuesday to discuss Iran's case.
In uranium conversion, uranium is converted into UF-6 gas, which can be enriched to make fuel for generating electricity. The gas can also be used to create highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.
The Isfahan plant is not a uranium-enrichment facility, but the IAEA says it still falls under a political agreement, and an IAEA resolution, for Iran to suspend enrichment-related activities.
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