Reuters: Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on Friday dampened hopes that Tehran was leaning towards a compromise solution put forward by Russia over its nuclear dispute with the West. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on Friday dampened hopes that Tehran was leaning towards a compromise solution put forward by Russia over its nuclear dispute with the West.
Speaking to reporters on his return from a visit to China, Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said the Russian plan to enrich uranium for Iran was not enough on its own to meet Tehran’s energy needs.
President George W. Bush on Thursday threw his weight behind the Russian proposal.
“I think that is a good plan,” he told a news conference. “The Russians came up with the idea and I support it.”
By producing enriched uranium for Iran under a joint venture in Russia, Moscow hopes to persuade Tehran it has no need to make its own enriched uranium. Enriched uranium can be used in both nuclear power reactors and, when highly enriched, atomic bombs.
Iran says it only wants nuclear technology to generate electricity, not make weapons.
Asked about Bush’s comments, Larijani said: “We should not respond to what others say, we should rather discern what is in our interest. Whether they say it was positive or negative, it will not affect our decision very much.”
Regarding the Russian proposal, Larijani said its “capacity is not sufficient for Iran’s nuclear technology. It can be part of a package and taken into consideration within it.”
Iran has said it plans to build as many as 20 nuclear power reactors, generating 20 GW of electricity over the next two decades. It has still not completed its first reactor, being built with Russian assistance in the Gulf port of Bushehr.
“It cannot be said that it is a negative proposal. We therefore considered it worthy of studying, and worthy of completion,” Larijani said.
“A round of the talks was carried out, and the next round will take place too,” he added.
Asked about China’s position regarding U.S. and European Union efforts to refer Iran’s case to the U.N. Security Council, Larijani said: “China’s stance is that … any rush and irrational behaviour would lead to unfavourable conditions.”