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We will not suspend uranium enrichment: Iran

By saying this, Iran is ignoring EU plans to offer incentives to the Islamic republic if it halted the nuclear work.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 13:13 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Iran said on Sunday it would not suspend uranium enrichment, ignoring European Union plans to offer incentives to the Islamic republic if it halted the sensitive nuclear work.

"The basis of our work is that the Islamic republic of Iran's rights must be recognised in any plan," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"We cannot retreat. The proposal should provide ways to secure our rights," he said. "We will not stop enrichment."

Britain, France and Germany are preparing a package of trade, technology and security benefits if Tehran stops enriching uranium to defuse an escalating international showdown.

The proposal says world powers should support Iran's building several light water reactors, set up a nuclear fuel bank and even have the United States drop restrictions on Iran's buying US commercial airplanes, if Iran takes steps to guarantee it will not make nuclear weapons.

But if Tehran does not do this, sanctions should follow, including an arms embargo, political and economic measures, a visa and travel ban on selected high-ranking officials and a freeze of assets of individuals and organisations connected to or close to the regime.

Asefi said it would be "hasty to comment on a raw proposal that has been brought up in the media, and still neither officially nor unofficially given to us."

But he also repeated Iran's view that any economic sanctions would leave its foreign trading partners worse off.

"We have broad trade and economic ties with European and non-European countries. These ties can be damaged and this damage will harm European countries even more," Asefi said.

"It is a pity that these relations are challenged because of indiscretion in the nuclear case."

First Published: May 21, 2006 13:13 IST