AFP: Iran Tuesday ruled out discussing a suspension of uranium enrichment in this week’s talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana aimed at breaking the deadlock over its controversial atomic programme. TEHRAN (AFP) Iran Tuesday ruled out discussing a suspension of uranium enrichment in this week’s talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana aimed at breaking the deadlock over its controversial atomic programme.
“Suspension (of uranium enrichment) is a step backward and is not on the agenda of the talks,” government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told his weekly press briefing.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will meet Solana in London on Friday in a last-ditch effort to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme, which the West fears is cover for weapons development.
Uranium enrichment lies at the heart of the dispute as it can make nuclear fuel as well as the fissile core of an atom bomb.
Echoing Iran’s defiant stance, Elham said: “The Islamic republic has clear rights and it is a principle to preserve its rights. It is a principle not to accept unlawful commitments and impositions.”
Solana must report to the UN Security Council by the end of November on Tehran’s willingness or otherwise to comply with the council’s demand to freeze uranium enrichment.
He has tried to persuade Tehran to resume talks on suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for a package of political and economic incentives but Tehran has refused to offer concessions.
Iran denies seeking atomic weapons, and says it has a right to enrichment as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to make nuclear fuel.
Iran is under two sets of UN Security Council sanctions and US unilateral sanctions for its refusal to suspend enrichment. World powers are awaiting Solana’s report before deciding on whether to press ahead with further punitive measures.