TEHRAN - Iran underlined its resolve on Friday to never abandon its nuclear fuel programme, with a leading politician saying U.S. and European Union demands for it to do so would only stir up trouble.
Washington accuses Iran of seeking to make nuclear fuel for atomic warheads, whereas Tehran says it is only needed for use in power stations.
Influential former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran had only agreed to suspend its nuclear fuel programme as a confidence-building measure, after striking a deal with the European Union "big three" of France, Britain and Germany last year.
"After a few months, they repeated the same things and sometimes they clearly state that Iran should put an end (to its programme)," he told worshippers at Friday prayers.
The three EU states have been seeking an "objective guarantee" from Iran that its fuel will not be diverted into a weapons programme.
Some Europeans have said the only "objective guarantee" worthy of the name would be for Iran to stop making nuclear fuel domestically and rely wholly on imports.
"We tell the Americans, Europeans and (the International Atomic Energy) Agency that this kind of attitude will not bring about the desired outcome and will cause you trouble," he added.
"You cannot treat Iran like this, you cannot cross the line. This is the wrong path and will be counterproductive. We hope that wisdom and logic will defeat your arrogance and discrimination," he continued.
Iran insists that it has the right to the complete fuel cycle, enriching uranium mined in its central deserts into fuel. But the lion's share of fuel will have to come from Russia, a deal Moscow and Tehran signed on Sunday.
Iran has not only been angered by the stance of Washington and the Europeans but also by U.N. watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei who criticised Iran for not fully disclosing information on its nuclear programme.
"We gave them permission to inspect even more than what we were obliged to," he said.
Iran-EU nuclear talks will continue next week in Geneva, diplomats say.