AFP: Iran on Sunday reaffirmed it would not consider a suspension of uranium enrichment work under any circumstances, despite continued Western demands for a freeze to the sensitive nuclear activity. TEHRAN, Aug 5, 2007 (AFP) – Iran on Sunday reaffirmed it would not consider a suspension of uranium enrichment work under any circumstances, despite continued Western demands for a freeze to the sensitive nuclear activity.
Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said such a move was “not acceptable” and denied that chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani had said in a magazine interview that a suspension was conceivable as an outcome to talks with world powers.
“This is not true. I have spoken to Mr Larijani myself and this (article) was an unwelcome reflection of his comments,” Hosseini told reporters.
“A suspension is not acceptable as a result of talks. Larijani said the issue of suspension is irrational and unacceptable and he has described enrichment as vital.”
Larijani had been reported as telling the German weekly Focus that Iran did not rule out suspending enrichment as an outcome to negotiations, comments which would have marked a subtle shift in Tehran’s position.
UN Security Council powers want Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, which can be used both to make nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons, as proof its nuclear programme is peaceful before any negotiations take place.
Iran however insists its atomic programme is solely aimed at producing energy while enrichment is an integral part of the nuclear fuel cycle which it has every right to use.
Hosseini emphasised that Iran’s nuclear activities were proceeding at their “normal” pace.
“Our nuclear activities have continued and will continue within an organised framework, away from the political propaganda of the media.”
The UN Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran to punish its defiance for refusing to suspend enrichment and is likely to consider a third set of measures if no agreement is reached.
Iran last week allowed a group of UN atomic inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water reactor for the first time in months but Iran and the West remain at loggerheads over the question of enrichment.