Iran Nuclear NewsIran refuses to halt uranium enrichment

Iran refuses to halt uranium enrichment


AP: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the West should not expect his country to suspend uranium enrichment activities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that the West should not expect his country to suspend uranium enrichment activities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

“The process of installing centrifuges could be slow or fast. … But no one should expect that we will give up our rights and stop the process,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Ahmadinejad said Iran’s nuclear activities have been done within the framework of regulations set by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. “We are ready to remove any ambiguity, which they may have in talks and negotiations,” he said.

Iran seeks “all rights of our nation and there is no room for surrender, even to the amount of an iota,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The comments came as a delegation from the U.N. nuclear watchdog traveled to Iran on Wednesday to see if the Tehran government is willing to answer all outstanding questions about its disputed nuclear program, state television reported.

The report said a “high-ranking” five-member delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency headed by Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit.

Heinonen planned to meet with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, later in the day, the report said.

Larijani and IAEA Chief Mohammad ElBaradei met last month in Vienna, Austria. Earlier this week, ElBaradei said Iran had scaled back its uranium enrichment program, suggesting a new willingness from the government to resolve the international standoff over its nuclear defiance.

Members of the U.N. Security Council are preparing to debate a third set of sanctions against the Islamic republic in response to Tehran’s refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for civilian energy or fissile material for a bomb.

Speaking in Vienna, ElBaradei said Monday if Iran finally honored its promise to resolve questions surrounding its program and froze all enrichment activities “this would influence the actions” of the six nations. He suggested the council; the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, would hold off on new sanctions.

The head of Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, welcomed the talks.

“Iran’s initiation in inviting the delegation is aimed at removing technical arguments in negotiations with Solana,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, referring to Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign policy chief. Larijani and Solana have held three rounds of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear activities.

But Boroujerdi also reaffirmed that Iran has no intention of suspending enrichment.

“Technically, both the slowdown and speed up of activities is possible, however, the principle of continuation of activities have been remained in force,” he said referring to ElBaradei’s comments Monday.

Tehran insists it wants to develop an enrichment program to generate energy, but the U.S. and some of its allies fear that it could misuse it to produce the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

Iran has said it is ready to remove the ambiguities related to its nuclear activities through negotiations but rejects enrichment suspension, a condition set by the West for resumption of talks on the case.

The Security Council first imposed sanctions on Iran in December and modestly increased them in March over Iran’s refusal to suspend enrichment.

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