Iran warns: we won't stop uranium enrichment

16th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

TEHRAN, May 15, 2006 (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the ambassadors of Britain, France and Germany on Monday that any halt to uranium enrichment was "unacceptable," the official IRNA news agency reported.

TEHRAN, May 15, 2006 (AFP) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the ambassadors of Britain, France and Germany on Monday that any halt to uranium enrichment was "unacceptable," the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Any call for a suspension or pause (in uranium enrichment) is illogical and unacceptable and will without any doubt be rejected," the ministry quoted Mottaki as saying.

"Tehran is ready to negotiate and would welcome any constructive proposal which both guarantees Iran's legitimate rights and helps settle the nuclear issue."

The minister said any new package of incentives offered by the European Union in return for allaying Western concerns needed to "recognise Iran's absolute right to master nuclear technology and the means of achieving it."

"The Europeans have shown that they don't pay the slightest attention to our rights and are not sincere when they say they want to reach a peaceful settlement," Mottaki said.

Earlier Monday, the European Union pledged to make a "bold" offer to persuade Iran to curb its atomic ambitions, including possible security guarantees and hi-tech help to develop peaceful nuclear power.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the 25-nation bloc, tasked with trying to defuse the West's diplomatic standoff with the Islamic republic, could offer Tehran "the most sophisticated" technology to help its energy needs.

"We want to prove to the Iranians that we have nothing against ... Iran to use nuclear power for peaceful means," Solana told reporters. "We are going to present a plan to them, a cooperative project to them."

The West fears that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon behind the screen of its civil atomic energy programme. Tehran says it only wants to generate energy.

"Iran's latest achievements in uranium enrichment are an irreversible reality," Mottaki stressed, referring to the process that when extended had produce the fissile core of an atomic bomb.

Iran announced earlier this month that it had successfully enriched uranium to 4.8 percent purity, comfortably sufficient for producing fuel for civil reactors, but far short of the more than 90 percent purity needed for a weapon.

During the day Mottaki also received the ambassadors of China and Russia, which like Britain, France and the United States wield a veto on the UN Security Council.

The United States, which has had no ambassador in Tehran since shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution, has been seeking sanctions from the UN Security Council.

But it has failed to win support for the move and has given its European allies "a couple of weeks" to draft a fresh approach.

The EU, whose package must also satisfy Russia and China, has until Friday — when negotiators from the Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany meet in London — to complete its work.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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