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. Iran rules out nuclear suspension ahead of deadline
TEHRAN, Feb 18 (AFP) Feb 18, 2007
Iran on Sunday reaffirmed it had no intention of suspending sensitive uranium enrichment despite a looming UN deadline, saying there were other ways to end the nuclear standoff with the West.

"The question of a suspension (of uranium enrichment) belongs to the past and has no legal or logical justification. It is unacceptable," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said, according to the IRNA agency.

The UN Security Council, which has already imposed sanctions against Iran for its failure to suspend enrichment, has set Tehran a new deadline of February 21 to freeze to freeze the process.

Hosseini said contacts with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to find a way out of the crisis would continue, pointing to a suggestion that Tehran could guarantee to keep its enrichment to low levels.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said last week that Iran could keep its uranium enrichment to a degree of only four percent, well below the levels required for nuclear weapons.

"Larijani at the Munich security conference said this could be a good start in negotiations and spoke with Mr Solana. These talks will continue," said Hosseini.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge denied by Tehran which insists its atomic programme is peaceful in nature.

Although Washington has said it wants the nuclear standoff resolved through diplomacy, it has never ruled out military action to thwart Iran's atomic drive.

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