PARIS (AP) – European Union officials met with a high-level Iranian envoy on Thursday to press Tehran for guarantees that its nuclear program is peaceful, the French Foreign Ministry said.

The talks in Paris follow new allegations by diplomats this week that Iran has resumed clandestine work linked to uranium enrichment, testing equipment and producing a gas that can be used to make nuclear warheads.

“The discussions are continuing with Iranian authorities toward obtaining all the guarantees relative to the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program,” ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said.

The meeting with the unidentified Iranian official was part of a “continuation of earlier meetings aiming … to establish trust in this domain,” Ladsous said. He did not indicate who represented the European Union at the meeting.

Diplomats said Wednesday that Tehran has restarted equipment used to make uranium hexaflouride, which – when injected into and spun in centrifuges – can be enriched to levels high enough to make such weapons.

While Iran only appears to be testing the machinery, it apparently has produced some of the hexaflouride gas as a side effect, the diplomats told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The revelations alarmed France, Germany and Britain, which persuaded Tehran in October to suspend uranium enrichment and give inspectors unrestricted access to its nuclear facilities.

The United States insists the Iranian government wants to make nuclear weapons, and has been seeking to haul Tehran before the U.N. Security Council.

AP-ES-07-29-04 1646EDT



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