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Iran ready to negotiate on uranium enrichment

The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment of uranium.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 16:49 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Iran is prepared to negotiate on the large-scale enrichment of uranium but will never abandon its right to enrich uranium, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a press conference on Tuesday.

The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment of uranium and last week it asked the UN nuclear agency to report back in 30 days on whether Iran had complied with the demand.

Mottaki maintained Iran's line that it would not comply with the Security Council demand, saying the research-scale enrichment that Iran began in February was in exercise of its right and will continue.

Iran has been conducting small-scale enrichment for what it says is research purposes.

But it would require large-scale enrichment to fuel a nuclear reactor.

The United States and France have accused Iran of seeking enrichment as a part of a secret programme to build nuclear weapons.

Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear ambitions are confined to the generation of electricity.

"The enrichment of uranium ... Is Iran's right as defined as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," Mottaki said.

"One thing we can't give up and that is the right of the Iranian nation ... We can't hold a dialogue with any country about giving up our rights," Mottaki insisted.

He added that Iran was prepared to talk to the international commmunity about large-scale enrichment.

"For industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel, which is the next stage (of enrichment), we are ready for negotiations," Mottaki said.

First Published: Apr 04, 2006 16:49 IST