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. Iran to enrich uranium even if fuel supply guaranteed: FM
TEHRAN, Oct 5 (AFP) Oct 05, 2008
Iran will continue with uranium enrichment, the focus of international fears about its nuclear programme, even if the country is promised supplies of nuclear reactor fuel, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Sunday.

Iran's "unchangeable policy is to be self-sufficient in fuel production for (nuclear) plants," Mottaki told reporters. "We are determined to continue peaceful nuclear work until reaching full self-sufficiency."

The minister was asked whether the Islamic republic would suspend uranium enrichment if it received international guarantees of a fuel supply.

Mottaki said Iran cannot rely on assurances by world powers and most notably the United States, which have not delivered on their nuclear contracts with Iran made before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran has been slapped with three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process which can be used to make both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of an atom bomb.

Six major powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- have put forward the possibility of a package of technological, economic and political incentives if it suspends uranium enrichment.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was quoted as saying in Brussels last Thursday that Iran might end its uranium enrichment programme if there was a "legally-binding instrument for assurance of supply."

Iran says it has a right to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and denies allegations of seeking atomic weapons.

An Iranian official on Sunday criticised a nuclear deal due to be signed between the United States and India, saying that such cooperation violates the NPT, which India has refused to sign.

"This manner of transferring nuclear technology to non-NPT members will promote double standards," Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, told the state news agency IRNA.

Such cooperation will inevitably "present the international community with new crises," he said.

India and the US promised on Saturday soon to sign a pact offering India access to sophisticated US technology and cheap atomic energy in return for New Delhi allowing UN inspections of some of its civilian nuclear facilities.

The US and its regional ally Israel, which accuse Iran of seeking atomic weapons, have called for tougher sanctions against Tehran and have never ruled out a military option to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear drive.

The UN atomic watchdog has been investigating Tehran's nuclear activities for the past six years, but has so far been unable to determine whether they are purely peaceful as the government claims.

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