negotiations over its nuclear programme.The EU's "big three" powers, Britain, France and Germany, have offered Iran a deal whereby it would scrap activities related to producing nuclear fuel in return for help with civilian nuclear technology and a resumption of trade talks. Reuters
By Paul Hughes
TEHRAN - Iran's top security official on Monday warned the European Union not to cross Tehran's red lines in negotiations over its nuclear programme.
The EU's "big three" powers, Britain, France and Germany, have offered Iran a deal whereby it would scrap activities related to producing nuclear fuel in return for help with civilian nuclear technology and a resumption of trade talks.
But Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Iran had the same rights to develop nuclear technology as any other signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
"Our red lines are clear and if anyone wants to cross them, we will not allow it," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as telling parliament's National Security and Foreign Affairs Commission.
"The Europeans should say that Iran has every legal right that is mentioned in the NPT and it should not discriminate against Iran regarding these rights," he said.
"In other words, Iran has as much rights as a European country has under the NPT."
The United States accuses Tehran of trying to develop an atomic arsenal under the cover of a civilian nuclear programme. Iran says it only wants to generate electricity.
Iranian officials on Sunday dismissed the EU trio's compromise offer as unacceptable, but said they wanted more talks to reach a deal. Fresh talks are due in Vienna on Wednesday when Iran is due to present a counter-proposal.
The United Nation's nuclear watchdog has given Tehran until late November to suspend all uranium enrichment or face being sent to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
But Iran remains defiant.
"If Iran has to choose between being sent to the U.N. Security Council or having the right to use peaceful nuclear technology, we will not give up the right to have peaceful nuclear technology," the ISNA student news agency quoted Manouchehr Motaki, the head of the parliamentary commission, as saying.
"Even if Iran's case is sent to the U.N. Security Council ... Iran will continue to work within the framework of international laws so what does the Security Council want to do," said Rohani.
Iran says it will not scrap uranium enrichment -- a process which can be used to make reactor fuel or bomb-grade material -- but is ready to give guarantees that it would never use nuclear technology for military purposes.
"Iran will patiently prove to the world that its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes," Rohani said.
"We will do everything necessary to prove that because we want to have political, economic and cultural cooperation with the international community and we don't want them to worry about something that is not true."