President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday rejected a looming UN deadline for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, saying it would not halt the sensitive nuclear activity as a precondition to talks.
"We are in favour of dialogue. But in order for us to talk they are imposing a condition that would deprive us of our right," Ahmadinejad said in a public rally in Gilan province, referring to the West.
"If they say that our nuclear production plant and its fuel cycle should be shut down, this is fine. But justice necessitates that those who want to negotiate should halt their own nuclear fuel cycles!" he said.
His comments come ahead of the expiry this week of the latest UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt sensitive uranium enrichment work as well as a UN watchdog report Friday on its compliance with this demand.