Iran: No stop to uranium enrichment

rabbani20080620093621421.jpgIran’s nuclear envoy says Tehran will continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but will not halt uranium enrichment.

“The US and its allies are seeking the halt of uranium enrichment but Iran will not do so, as there is no justification for it,” Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh told a press conference in Belgrade Thursday.

Soltaniyeh said his country will continue to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes because the process itself conforms to IAEA rules and because experts have never reported any non-compliance on Iran’s part.

In his latest report on Iran’s nuclear program released earlier this month, IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei certified the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran’s nuclear activities.

Iran is a signatory to the Non-proliferation Treaty which allows its members to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The Islamic Republic is not seeking to use nuclear technology for military purposes, Soltaniyeh stressed, rejecting allegations by the US that Iran is following a secret nuclear weapons program.

Soltaniyeh also said the UN Security Council must disengage itself from Iran’s nuclear program since only IAEA experts are legally authorized to verify its activities. The Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran so far.

Iran has consistently provided IAEA inspectors with access to its nuclear facilities and even to some military sites on the request of the nuclear watchdog, Soltaniyeh said.

The official added Iran remains ‘open to negotiations’ with other countries over its nuclear program.

AR/MR/DT

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