Iran rejects demands for nuclear suspension
19 August 2005, TEHRAN - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday rejected international demands for the suspension of nuclear activities.
19 August 2005
TEHRAN - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday rejected international demands for the suspension of nuclear activities.
"No country has the right to tell Iran what to do. We will not make any concessions over our legitimate right. We are not afraid of anybody and we have the power to defend our rights," Khamenei said at Friday prayers in Tehran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called last week on Iran to close down its reopened uranium conversion plant in Isfahan in central Iran until September 3, otherwise Iran's case might be transferred to the United Nations Security Council.
Khamenei termed Iran's nuclear programmes "scientific and economic projects" and rejected the claim that Iran had sufficient oil and gas reserves and hence no need of nuclear energy.
"We need alternatives as our oil and gas reserves will one day be finished and then the country would have to refer to the United States for purchasing the same oil and gas," said Khamenei.
He said Iran has its own uranium mines, facilities, experts and know-how and therefore wants to produce the nuclear fuel for its plants itself.
"Telling us to purchase the fuel from outside is an imposition with the aim of making us dependent again on the West," said Khamenei, who in June 1989 succeeded the late spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
He said that Iran wants an enrichment grade of only 3 to 4 per cent - just enough to make fuel - and not for making an atomic bomb, as the U.S. claims, which would require an enrichment grade of over 90 per cent.
"The main plot to deprive Iran from nuclear technology comes from the U.S. and the Europeans should know that following American policies would definitely not be in line with their interests," Khamenei said.
He said that Iran has never violated any international commitments but just followed regulations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the IAEA additional protocol, both allowing signatories like Iran to pursue civil nuclear activities.
"We even tried through long and calm negotiations to gain the European Union's confidence but now we expect, instead of threats, some confidence-building measures from the E.U.," he said.
Khamenei further rejected that there was international consensus on Iran's nuclear activities, saying that it was only for avoiding production of atomic weapons and not for stopping Iran's civil programmes.
"We absolutely join the international society in the consensus against atomic weapons, but what we want is technology for development and progress," he said.
Iran reopened on August 8 the uranium conversion plant in Isfahan where uranium ore is converted into hexafluoride gas and stored in the plant.
The next step is to feed the gas into centrifuges for the enrichment process, to be effected in the neighbouring Natanz plant.
Hardliners in the Iranian parliament want a stop to further negotiations with the E.U. trio Britain, France and Germany and to resume enrichment activities in Natanz within one month.
New chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, however, said Tuesday that although Iran would not close down the Isfahan plant but also not resume uranium enrichment activities in Natanz, at least not without further negotiations with the E.U. trio.
Subject: German news