Iran Nuclear NewsIran Says It Won't Negotiate, `Back Down' on Uranium

Iran Says It Won’t Negotiate, `Back Down’ on Uranium

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Bloomberg: Iran won’t negotiate over its uranium enrichment, Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said today, amid European efforts to draw up a proposal that would convince Iran to halt its nuclear program. May 22 (Bloomberg) — Iran won’t negotiate over its uranium enrichment, Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said today, amid European efforts to draw up a proposal that would convince Iran to halt its nuclear program.

“We are protecting our right to enrichment” within the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, state-run Iranian Students News Agency ISNA quoted Elham as saying. “This right must be recognized by other countries. It is not something on which we can back down.”

France, Germany and the U.K. are working on a package of trade and technology incentives to encourage Iran to stop enriching uranium. The offer will be discussed at a meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, France, China, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S., and Germany in London on May 24, Agence France-Presse reported.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi urged the three countries negotiating on behalf of the European Union to make a “forward-looking” proposal, assuring there would be “no going back” on enrichment.

Germany and China agreed Iran shouldn’t be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today in Beijing after meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

“We talked about Iran and agreed Iran should not have the capability to make nuclear weapons and shouldn’t proliferate weapons of mass destruction,” Merkel said in a briefing in the Great Hall of the People after she was welcomed by Wen.

China, Russia

China and Russia, while saying they don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, have expressed reluctance to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“I don’t remember a single instance in modern history when sanctions achieved the goals which their initiators intended,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Saudi Arabia yesterday, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry Web site.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who announced in April that Iran had joined the “nuclear club” by enriching uranium to a purity of 3.5 percent, enough to power a nuclear electricity plant, said he would not let go of “gold” in exchange for “walnuts and chocolates” offered by the West.

Iran ignored an April 28 non-binding deadline by the Security Council to suspend the program.

The U.S. accuses Iran of using its nuclear research as a cover for the development of atomic bombs. Iran’s government says it is for purely civilian use.

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