AFP: Iran confirmed it was in talks with the European Union on offering new concessions over its nuclear programme, but warned the bloc of a "response" if the Europeans and the UN's atomic watchdog again took a tough line against the Islamic republic.
"If the Europeans do not respect their commitments or present an illogical or harsh resolution, Iran has already decided its response,"... AFP

TEHRAN - Iran confirmed it was in talks with the European Union on offering new concessions over its nuclear programme, but warned the bloc of a "response" if the Europeans and the UN's atomic watchdog again took a tough line against the Islamic republic.

"If the Europeans do not respect their commitments or present an illogical or harsh resolution, Iran has already decided its response," top national security official Hassan Rowhani was quoted as saying Wednesday by the official news agency IRNA.

Rowhani confirmed Iran was in talks with the EU ahead of a September 13 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with one concession on the table a renewed suspension on the assembly of centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

"There are important questions and it is too early to talk," said Rowhani, a conservative cleric and the regime's nuclear negotiator.

On Tuesday diplomats at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna said Iran was ready to again suspend its efforts to assemble centrifuges in order to avoid being brought before the UN Security Council.

But speculation that an imminent accord could be reached have been dampened by a heavy dose of scepticism among IAEA members, less than a week before the agency's board of governors meet.

Britain, Germany and France have been negotiating with the aim of getting Iran to "fully suspend any uranium enrichment activities, including making any components for centrifuges," a Western diplomat told AFP.

Enriched uranium can be used to provide fuel for reactors as well as nuclear warheads.

The diplomat said the negotiations began three days ago and have moved between different European capitals.

The Islamic republic this summer resumed the production of P2 centrifuges, in reaction to a critical resolution adopted by the IAEA board of governors after its last review of the Iran dossier in June.

At the beginning of September, Tehran also announced that it planned to convert 37 tonnes of "yellow cake" uranium into uranium hexafluoride gas, an element necessary for the enrichment of uranium in P2 centrifuges.

Nuclear experts have said that such a large amoung could in theory be used to make one or more nuclear missiles.

Rowhani, in high-level talks in the Netherlands -- the current holder of the EU presidency -- on Monday denied that Iran was seeking nuclear weapons but said it would not abandon its programme to develop nuclear power for civilian purposes.

The United States accuses Iran of covertly trying to develop a nuclear bomb and has sought to have the IAEA refer Tehran to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

Tehran maintains that it is merely trying to produce enough cheap energy for its people.