Reuters: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran would not accept any offer made by European states if it included a demand that Tehran stop what he called peaceful nuclear activities. By Parinoosh Arami
TEHRAN (Reuters) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday Iran would not accept any offer made by European states if it included a demand that Tehran stop what he called peaceful nuclear activities.
Three European Union countries — France, Britain and Germany — are drawing up incentives to offer Iran in exchange for cooperation in ending enrichment work, which the West believes Tehran is using to develop atomic bombs.
“Any proposal that obliges us to stop peaceful (nuclear) activities would not have value and would not be valid,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech broadcast on state television.
The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran’s declared civilian nuclear energy programme is a smokescreen for building atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying it wants nuclear technology for producing electricity.
Washington and its European allies have been seeking a U.N. Security Council resolution that would oblige Iran to halt all uranium enrichment work or face possible sanctions.
But Russia and China have resisted the move and Washington has agreed to let the European first devise a package of benefits for Iran in return for cooperating, putting back a decision on a possible resolution.
European ministers will on Monday discuss a new proposal in Brussels to end the long-running stand-off.
The plan includes incentives for cooperation in ending uranium enrichment but also a threat of targeted sanctions if Tehran is seen as obstructionist.
Iran insists its aims are peaceful and argues its right to enrich uranium is enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“I think the best incentive is that they implement the regulations of the NPT .. .especially on Articles 2 and 4,” the president said.
Article 2 of the NPT says signatories should not develop nuclear weapons and Article 4 says nations should be allowed to research, develop and produce nuclear energy.
Western diplomats say Iran would be entitled to produce atomic fuel only if it could prove its aims were entirely peaceful but the U.N. nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency says it still cannot give Iran a clean bill of health.
Ahmadinejad accused the Europeans of living in a “colonialist world” and said Tehran would not accept any decisions reached at the Brussels meeting.
“If they want to decide things that concern us in a place where we are not present, then that body does not have any legal validity or credibility in decision-making,” Ahmadinejad said.
“We do not understand what is going on in their heads and who they think they are dealing with. The Iranian nation … can decide for itself,” he added.
Iran accuses the three main European negotiators — Britain, Germany and France — of unilaterally cancelling a round of talks on Iran’s nuclear row in August 2005 shortly after Iran resumed its nuclear research and development activities.