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Iran denies suspending uranium enrichment

The Guardian

Move reported as gesture of goodwill before negotiations with US over nuclear programme next week was down to 'misquote'

Iran's state media has denied reports that Tehran had suspended the enrichment of uranium at 20% in a goodwill gesture ahead of talks with the world's major powers.

"Twenty percent uranium enrichment activities continue as before and no change has happened," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying on Sunday.

On Saturday night, Iranian MP Mohammad Hassan Asafari was misquoted by opposition websites and the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya as saying that Tehran had already stopped 20% enrichment. Asafari had only signalled in his comments to Iran's Isna news agency that Iran would be ready to temporarily stop enrichment to 20% if sanctions were lifted.

Asafari on Sunday stepped forward to clarify. "The 20% enrichment has not been and will not be halted in Iran," he insisted, according to the website of the state's English-language television, Press TV.

Asafari is a member of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy.

"Yet … as announced previously, Tehran is ready to temporarily supply its need for 20%-enriched uranium for its 5-megawatt Tehran [Research] Reactor from abroad if the sanctions are lifted," he said.