Iran wants respect for nuclear rights

Iran has asked the European Union and Russia to respect its right to enrich uranium, an activity the EU is trying to convince Iran to give up to ensure it is not producing nuclear weapons.

    Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes

    "We hope these countries will be honestly committed to what they have said and respect Iran's right to have a fuel cycle and practically prove that in the steering committee meeting on March 24," said foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi in a statement on Saturday. 

    Asefi was reacting to Friday's declarations in Paris during a summit of French and Russian presidents Jacques Chirac and Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. 

    "No country should be deprived of peaceful nuclear technology," Asefi said. 

    Iran "has repeatedly announced it is not seeking mass destruction weapons and its peaceful nuclear activities are totally for non-military purposes," he asserted. 

    Negotiations

    Britain, France and Germany have been negotiating for the EU with Iran since December to secure "objective guarantees" that the government will not use its atomic energy programme to acquire nuclear weapons. 

    The EU would like Iran to give up
    uranium enrichment

    Ideally, the European Union would like Iran permanently to give up uranium enrichment, which makes what can be fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but also the explosive core of atomic bombs.

    In exchange, the three European governments are offering Iran a package of trade, security and technology incentives. 

    Iran insists it does not even consider abandoning enrichment to be on the table in the talks, despite its having temporarily
    suspended enrichment as a confidence-building measure. 

    A new round of negotiations is due to start in Paris on Wednesday. A steering committee has to evaluate work done since December and decide how negotiations can go on. 

    Schroeder and Chirac said on Friday they saw no contradiction between Europeans' efforts and Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran. 

    SOURCE: AFP


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