Reuters: Iran has vowed never to dismantle its uranium enrichment programme, a day after a confidential EU document showed that France, Britain and Germany had told Tehran they would not settle for anything less. Iran has temporarily frozen its enrichment programme, a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants or weapons, but insists that atomic fuel production is a sovereign right it will never abandon.
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia – Iran has vowed never to dismantle its uranium enrichment programme, a day after a confidential EU document showed that France, Britain and Germany had told Tehran they would not settle for anything less.
Iran has temporarily frozen its enrichment programme, a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel in nuclear power plants or weapons, but insists that atomic fuel production is a sovereign right it will never abandon.
Asked whether Iran would dismantle the programme, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Gholamali Khoshroo, who is visiting Malaysia for a meeting of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, replied:
“Never. For what reason? We are not terrified by the U.S. We have had this kind of relations with the U.S. for 25 years. We don’t want to upgrade tension with U.S. but we want to live as a sovereign country and nobody has the right to threaten others.”
Iran says its atomic ambitions are strictly peaceful, but Washington believes it has a covert atomic weapons programme, and warned last week that military force was an option it would not rule out to stop Tehran from getting the bomb.
Khoshroo accused the United States of attempting to disrupt his country’s talks with the EU.
“We are not living in the jungle, we are living in accordance with international law,” he said.
“In accordance with international law, those who have force should not use it unless legitimacy by the international community is given to them. America wanted to put pressure on the EU not to continue negotiations (with Iran).”
NO CLEAR EVIDENCE
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, has been investigating Tehran’s nuclear programme for more than two years. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says he has found no clear evidence of a nuclear weapons programme in Iran.
An EU document seen by Reuters in Vienna on Wednesday summarised this month’s talks between the European Union’s “big three” — the EU3 — and Iran.
It said there was no economic justification for the enrichment programme, especially since Russia agreed to provide Tehran with fuel for the Russian-built Bushehr power plant.
“Iran recognises explicitly that its fuel cycle programme cannot be justified on economic grounds,” the document said.
In Vienna, diplomats said the lack of economic justification was a key reason why EU3 officials generally agree with the U.S. view that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are not entirely peaceful.
In Malaysia, the Iranian minister said there were no legal grounds for the demand that his country halt its nuclear activities.
“What is the legal basis for any request to relinquish all our activities?” Khoshroo said.
“The U.S. is upset Iran is cooperating with the IAEA and Iran’s activities have been peaceful,” he added. “The U.S. is not happy Iran’s relationships with Asia and Islamic countries are developing. We are playing a peaceful role.
“The U.S. is using extra force to overshadow the emergence of Iran as a stabiliser and as a strong country with good relationship with the west and the east.”