Reuters: Iran said on Monday the idea it was prepared to shelve uranium enrichment for a limited time had been misunderstood by the West, the government spokesman said.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday the idea it was prepared to shelve uranium enrichment for a limited time had been misunderstood by the West, the government spokesman said.
“Iran’s acceptance of limited suspension is a misunderstanding. We have not reached any conclusion over the issue yet,” Gholamhossein Elham told a weekly news conference.
Tehran has so far ignored an August 31 U.N. Security Council deadline to halt uranium enrichment-related activities, which it says is for civilian energy use but Western powers fear may be used for building nuclear weapons.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana has been in talks with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani on behalf of the world’s major powers to resolve Tehran’s nuclear dispute with the West.
France said that during talks this month in Vienna, Larijani had told Solana that Tehran was ready to discuss freezing its uranium enrichment work.
An EU diplomat also told Reuters that Larijani had offered to consider a roughly 2-month suspension.
Enrichment suspension is a precondition set by France, Britain, Germany, Russia, the United States and China for talks on a package of economic and other incentives in exchange for Iran scrapping efforts to produce nuclear fuel.
Elham reiterated that Iran would not accept any preconditions for talks on its disputed nuclear program.
“Talks must be without preconditions … No result can be achieved under threats and conditions,” he said.
Iran says it has a sovereign right to run its own nuclear program, including uranium enrichment.
U.S. and EU diplomats told Reuters on Saturday that major powers were considering a joint meeting with Iran this week that would exclude its arch foe the United States, as a way of bridging the divide over Iran’s nuclear program.
China and Russia, which wield veto power on the Security Council, are wary of U.N. sanctions against Iran and have long urged a diplomatic solution.