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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran rules out talks on right to enrich uranium - govt.

RIA Novosti

22/05/2006 12:59

TEHRAN, May 22 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has no intention of negotiating its right to enrich uranium, a government spokesman said Monday.

"Iran cannot give up its right to enrich uranium, and will stick to its position," Gholam-Hossein Elham said. "We will not suspend uranium enrichment."

Iran is under intense international pressure to reimpose a moratorium on nuclear research. The United States and other Western nations accuse the Islamic Republic of using its nuclear program as a cover for weapons production, but Iran insists its program is meant for peaceful purposes.

Elham said the country had the legal right to enrich uranium under international law.

"Iran will not abandon either [nuclear] research or industrial uranium enrichment," Elham said.

Earlier, he said Iran was ready to develop cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, and added that the country's signature of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was the best guarantee of its nuclear program's peaceful purposes.

The United States, France, and Britain are pushing for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. The other two veto-wielding members, Russia and China, have called for the dispute to be resolved by the IAEA.

The EU3 negotiators - Britain, France and Germany - together with EU foreign policy supremo Javier Solana last week offered Iran a European light-water nuclear reactor in exchange for a promise to stop its uranium enrichment program.

However, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the country did not need any proposals.

The EU3 are also considering incentives for Iran in the economic and nuclear spheres in return for Tehran's consent to halt uranium enrichment.

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