Iran says foreign enrichment offer still stands
TEHRAN, Oct 14 (AFP) Oct 14, 2006
Iran said Saturday a year-old offer from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for foreign countries to handle its uranium enrichment activities still stands as a way to break the deadlock over its nuclear programme.
Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini also said a suggestion made by Iran earlier this month for a French led-consortium to enrich uranium for Iran on Iranian soil remained "appropriate".
His comments come as the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany discuss imposing sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt enrichment, which the West fears could be diverted to making a nuclear bomb.
"Mr Ahmadinejad in his speech last year to the UN General Assembly proposed that other countries participate in the uranium enrichment and this proposal still stands," Hosseini said, according to the website of state broadcaster IRIB.
Hosseini added later in an interview with state television: "We have received proposals from partners but the final decision has not been made yet." He did not specify who the partners were.
Ahmadinejad had proposed in his 2005 UN speech to "engage in serious partnership with private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of the uranium enrichment programme in Iran."
His idea was revived earlier this month when a top Iranian nuclear official said France should form a consortium that would manufacture uranium on Iranian soil and thus break the deadlock.
However on both occasions the idea has met with a cool reception from Western powers.
Hosseini described the moves to impose sanctions against Iran as "psychological warfare".
"The Iranian nation is not scared of possible sanctions and is determined to go on its way to the peaceful use of nuclear energy," he said.
Iran vehemently denies US accusations its nuclear programme is aimed at producing weapons.
The European Union is expected to announce in the coming week that it will leave it up to the UN Security Council to consider punitive action after four rounds of talks between the EU and the Islamic republic failed to reach agreement.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.