After talks in the Austrian capital with Mohamed ElBaradei, the UN International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Larijani said Iran would not be suspending enrichment activities.

 

He said: "The important issue is not suspension.

 

"What should be important to you is to have Iran's activities within the framework of the IAEA and under the supervision of the inspectors of the agency."

 

'Force and pressure'

 

Larijani also said no attempt should be made to resolve the issue through "force and pressure" and warned that Tehran would respond to any attacks.

 

He said: "Anybody interested in non-conventional or illogical, irrational [moves] would definitely receive an appropriate response."

 

Your Views

"Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy just like other countries"

Shahid, Delhi, India

Send us your views

Replying to a question about US pressure on Iran to give up enrichment, Larijani said: "If they ... move into the boxing ring, they would have problems. But if they sit at the chess table, then both sides would come to a result."

 

Sadegh Zibakalam, a professor at Tehran University, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that "previous guarantees provided by the Islamic Republic have been kept perfectly".

 

"Nothing has proved that Iran is doing anything wrong. Guarantees [made by Iran] have been good enough for the IAEA, and good enough for the UN.

 

"But they have not been good enough for the US. Any sanctions on Iran have been at the behest of the United States.

 

"If the US was not pursuing hostile actions towards the Islamic Republic, the UN would not impose sanctions."

 

Matter of centrifuges

 

Speaking on the same Al Jazeera programme, Raymond Tanter, political science professor at Georgetown University and a member of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, said: "It is my humble opinion that Iran cannot provide guarantees that it will not deviate towards nuclear weapons."

 

"If they ... move into the boxing ring, they would have problems. But if they sit at the chess table, then both sides would come to a result"

Ali Larijani,
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator
Based on the premise that highly enriched uranium is required to build a nuclear bomb, he said: "Once you can enrich for three per cent, you can enrich for 80 to 90 per cent. All you need is the requisite number of centrifuges."

 

Although Washington has said it wants the nuclear standoff resolved through diplomacy, it has not ruled out military action against the country.

 

On Tuesday, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the Iranian president, addressing the US, said in front of thousands of supporters at a rally in Gilan province: "There is no problem with your demand for us to close our nuclear facilities.

 

"But what we say is that if justice is to be performed, you must close your nuclear facilities too."

 

Pointless calls

 

In an earlier interview on Al Jazeera, Bruno Pellaud, a former IAEA deputy director-general, said that calls for a compromise over nuclear enrichment were pointless "because of the absolute determination of the US government to prevent any compromise".

 

Ahmadinejad said Iran will stop enrichment
if the US stops too [EPA]

He said: "The US has not budged from the position ... namely to see all activities towards nuclear enrichment suspended in Iran. 

 

Mark Seddon, Al Jazeera's correspondent at the UN, said that member countries are "standing back" with a view to the February 21 deadline for Iran to end nuclear enrichment.

 

He said: "The fact that the Iranians are talking makes it seem that the pressure of sanctions is working.

 

"They are all saying we've got to prevent this from getting out of control, which is why there will be some very cool heads."