Khatami says Iran will not bargain on nuclear enrichment
TEHRAN (AFP) Jul 19, 2005
Iran's outgoing President Mohammad Khatami said Tuesday that Tehran would not bargain on its right to enrich uranium during talks with Europe on its nuclear activities.
"Iran's admission to the World Trade Organisation and the mastering of the fuel cycle are the rights of the Iranian people... and are not negotiable," Khatami was quoted as saying by state television.
Khatami's reference to the WTO stemmed from the fact that the Europeans succeeded in convincing the United States to lift its long-standing objections to Iran beginning negotiations to join the organisation.
He reiterated Iran's insistence on the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, and the government's stance that its freeze on enrichment -- a key part of the fuel cycle -- "will not become permanent."
Iran agreed in November to suspend enrichment activities during negotiations with Britain, France and Germany, representing the European Union. The EU-3 have promised to come up with a proposal by the end of this month that could make or break a lengthy diplomatic process aimed at easing fears in the West that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons technology.
"We are waiting for the Europeans, to show in their proposals the same good will they did three or so months ago so that, with their cooperation, we might master peaceful nuclear technology," Khatami said.
In contrast to the United States, which suspects Tehran of wanting to build nuclear bombs, the EU-3 is seeking to engage the Islamic state, offering trade and other benefits to persuade it to curb its nuclear plans.
Washington accuses Tehran of using a civilian atomic energy programme as a cover for weapons development and seeks a permanent halt to uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing activities that could be used to build arms.
Iran denies the charge and says it has the right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the peaceful use of nuclear technology, including making atomic fuel.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.