Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran says will not suspend uranium enrichment

RIA Novosti

20/08/2006 13:55 PARIS, August 20 (RIA Novosti) - Iran said Sunday it would not suspend uranium enrichment, rejecting the main demand in a package of proposals from six world powers aimed at resolving the Iran nuclear issue.

The five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany have drafted a package of incentives to persuade Iran to halt work on enriching uranium, which could be used in both electricity generation and weapons production. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana presented the offer to Tehran during a visit to Iran June 6.

"We won't suspend [uranium enrichment]. Everything has to come out of negotiations. Suspension of uranium enrichment is not on our agenda," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

Iran's nuclear program has been a source of major controversy since the beginning of the year, as many countries suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a covert weapons program under the pretext of civilian research, despite its claims to the contrary.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier said Iran would respond to the package of proposals August 22.

But the UN Security Council voted July 31 in favor of a resolution to set August 31 as a deadline for Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities. If Iran fails to fulfill the UN's demands, economic and diplomatic sanctions may be imposed on the Islamic Republic.

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