Iran Nuclear NewsIran won't end enrichment as condition for talks, ministry...

Iran won’t end enrichment as condition for talks, ministry says

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Bloomberg: Iran won’t suspend uranium enrichment as a condition for talks to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry said, three days after the United Nations Security Council voted for further sanctions against the Islamic Republic. By Ladane Nasseri

March 27 (Bloomberg) — Iran won’t suspend uranium enrichment as a condition for talks to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry said, three days after the United Nations Security Council voted for further sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“If there’s a precondition, such as suspending enrichment, there will naturally not be a positive answer to it,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mehdi Mostafavi was quoted as saying today by the state-run Iranian Students News Agency.

The Security Council on March 24 unanimously backed a resolution freezing the assets of a state-owned Iranian bank and imposing penalties on some military commanders, to push Iran to suspend production of the nuclear fuel. The package toughens sanctions approved in December.

The UN resolution has given Iran, holder of the second- largest oil reserves in the world, 60 days to suspend uranium enrichment before the new penalties are imposed. Iran says its crude oil will run out in several years and the nuclear technology is needed to generate electricity.

The adoption of the resolution by the UN body is “an unsuitable and illegal move,” Mostafavi said, according to ISNA.

Iran “will continue its peaceful nuclear activities and is ready to hold negotiations with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency and Security Council members within the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” he added.

Iran, a signatory to the NPT, has defied two previous UN resolutions demanding a halt to enrichment. The U.S. and some European governments accuse Iran of using nuclear-power development to disguise a weapons program.

The conflict over Iran’s nuclear ambitions has intensified with the country’s detention of 15 U.K. sailors and Marines who were seized March 23 in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government says they entered Iranian waters illegally. The U.K., which is a permanent member of the Security Council, rejects the claims, saying the personnel were captured in Iraqi waters.

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