Saturday, May 28, 2005

Iran passes law aimed at developing nuclear program

Iran's hard-line Guardian Council on Saturday approved a law forcing Iran to develop nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment, an action aimed at strengthening Tehran's hand in negotiations with Europeans.

The law's passage does not compel the government to resume uranium enrichment immediately, but it insists that Iran must pursue its nuclear goals even as international pressure over its ambitions are brought to bear.

The Council's decision was a clear challenge to European negotiators trying to persuade Iran to abandon the program, a lawmaker said.

“Approval of the parliamentary legislation into law by the Guardian Council means Europeans should forget the idea of asking Iran to permanently freeze its nuclear activities forever,” said Nayereh Akhavan, a conservative lawmaker.