Iran shelves Russian atomic deal

Iran has said it is shelving a Russian compromise deal intended to defuse an international dispute over whether Tehran is seeking to build an atomic bomb.

    Mottaki has said Iran will not use oil as a foreign policy instrument

    Hamid Reza Asefi, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said on Sunday that Tehran was not considering reprising the Russian plan.

    "Now the situation has changed, the Russian proposal is not on the agenda," he told reporters at a conference on energy and security in Tehran.
       
    Russia had proposed that it make nuclear fuel on Iran's behalf in order to ensure that uranium was enriched only to the low level needed for power stations and not to the higher weapons-grade needed for warheads.
       
    However, Iran was unwilling to surrender its right to enrich uranium on its own soil.
       
    The failure of the Russian compromise helped send Iran's case to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

    On hold

    Asked if Iran will resume large scale uranium enrichment in response to Iran's referral to the Security Council, Asefi said: "Regarding industrial scale uranium enrichment, we are going to wait for two, three days."

    "Now the situation has changed, the Russian proposal is not on the agenda"

    Hamid Reza Asefi, the Iran foreign ministry spokesman

    Asefi was suggesting that Tehran wanted to see what the Security Council decides in a meeting scheduled for later this week before it makes a final decision on the enrichment.
       
    Asefi reiterated that Iran had no immediate plans to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because of being reported to the world body in New York.
       
    "Opting out of the NPT is not on the agenda," he said, but added that Iran could reconsider its stance if it felt that it was being unfairly pressured.

    "We prefer to use existing mechanisms and to have our rights from our more than 30-year membership of the NPT," he said.
       
    Contradictory statements

    Elsewhere, Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, said that Tehran had no intention to use oil as a weapon in its confrontation with the West over its nuclear programme.

    "The Islamic Republic of Iran is insisting to provide Asia with the oil it needs as a reliable and effective source of energy and will not use oil as a foreign policy instrument," he said on Sunday.

    Mottaki contradicted Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the interior minister, who said a day earlier that Tehran could use oil as a weapon if the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against it.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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