Iran Nuclear NewsIran Says Ending U.S. Sanctions Won't Stop Enrichment Program

Iran Says Ending U.S. Sanctions Won’t Stop Enrichment Program

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Bloomberg: The lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran, while building confidence, won’t make the country give up nuclear fuel enrichment, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said today. Kharrazi also rejected a U.S. offer to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization and to consider sales of commercial aircraft parts to Iran if the country abandons its nuclear ambitions. Bloomberg

The lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran, while building confidence, won’t make the country give up nuclear fuel enrichment, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said today.

Kharrazi also rejected a U.S. offer to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization and to consider sales of commercial aircraft parts to Iran if the country abandons its nuclear ambitions. Iran denies U.S. allegations that its nuclear power program is a cover for the production of atomic weapons.

“Lifting sanctions will never encourage us to give up our rights” to uranium enrichment, Kharrazi told reporters in Tehran. “But they can help us to build confidence and create a positive atmosphere in our relations with the U.S.”

U.S. economic sanctions have slowed Iran’s economic progress. The country, the second-largest oil producer in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, has an official unemployment rate of 16 percent and more than four-fifths of the $110 billion economy is state-run.

“The U.S. may try to reconsider its past mistakes and lift some of the sanctions, but this is not considered an incentive,” Kharrazi said. “Our rights cannot be compensated with economic incentives.”

Building Reactor

Iran, with Russia’s assistance, is building a heavy-water nuclear reactor that it says is for generating electricity for its citizens. The U.S. says Iran has no need to develop alternatives to oil- and gas-fired power stations and that the plant could be used to make highly enriched uranium used in nuclear weapons.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s administration severed diplomatic ties with Iran in 1979 after students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding 52 people hostage for 444 days.

Under the initial sanctions, the U.S. was still allowed to buy commodities such as oil from Iran, and a decade ago the U.S. was the country’s biggest trading partner. The U.S. halted the trade in 1995 after alleging that Iran supports Palestinian militant groups that have carried out suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

U.S. companies can still operate in Iran through foreign subsidiaries. General Electric Co. and Halliburton Co., which have such units, both announced in recent months that they are eventually withdrawing from Iran, as did BP Plc of Britain.

About 200 foreign companies, mainly European ones such as Royal Dutch/Shell Group, HSBC Holdings Plc and Renault SA, operate in the Islamic republic.

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