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. Iran rejects 'impossible' nuclear suspension
TEHRAN, Sept 9 (AFP) Sep 09, 2007
Iran's top nuclear negotiator on Sunday said it was "impossible" Tehran would yield to the key Western demand over its nuclear programme, even if the UN Security Council imposed further sanctions.

The reaffirmation by Ali Larijani of Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities comes a day ahead of a crucial meeting in Vienna of the UN atomic energy agency on the Iranian nuclear programme.

"A suspension is impossible. Even if you vote two other resolutions, we will not suspend," said Larijani in an interview with state television.

"If there is a new resolution, our position will stay the same," he added.

The UN Security Council has issued two sanctions resolutions against Tehran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a key part of an atomic programme that the United States alleges is aimed at making nuclear weapons.

Iran is hoping to escape further measures after agreeing a timetable to clear up outstanding questions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but the United States has expressed grave reservations over the deal.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will have to defend the deal in the face of US criticism when he presents his report this week on the Iranian atomic programme to the agency.

The United States -- as well as European allies like Britain and France -- have warned of a third sanctions resolution in the coming months should Iran remain defiant.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier also maintained his defiant line over the Iranian nuclear programme, saying his Western foes who demand that Iran halt its sensitive nuclear activities were "racing to hell".

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, reiterated meanwhile Tehran's position that it was not seeking to manufacture atomic weapons and its nuclear programme was peaceful.

"While the Iranian people do not have nuclear weapons and do not wish to acquire these deadly arms, the people are respected because their grandeur is based on their beliefs and their will," he told a group of Revolutionary Guards chiefs.

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