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Suspension of enrichment against Iran's legitimate rights: FM

Iran foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki shakes hands with his Russian counter-part. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Kuwait City (AFP) May 20, 2006
Iran, in its first reaction to a European Union proposal aimed at resolving a nuclear standoff with the West, said Saturday suspension of uranium enrichment breached Tehran's legitimate rights.

"The suspension of nuclear activities is in contradiction with our legitimate rights," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Kuwait in response to a question on whether Tehran was prepared to suspend the enrichment during proposed negotiations.

"(This also) is not within the provisions of the (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) NTP," said Mottaki after talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah.

The EU draft proposal, prepared by Germany, Britain and France, calls on Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and to continue this during negotiations.

The EU offers a package of trade, technology and security benefits if Tehran stops enriching uranium to defuse an escalating international showdown.

Mottaki said his country wants the UN Security Council to stop discussing the Iranian nuclear file "because we believe the issue has been politicised by referring it to the Security Council."

"We are fully committed to all obligations under NTP ... We are not demanding anything outside our legitimate rights stated in the NTP," he said.

Mottaki, who left Kuwait after a one-day visit, also held talks with Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

"I conveyed to Kuwaiti officials the outcome of negotiations with Europe, Russia and China ... Our position is based on ... taking steps to allay fears of some countries from the Iranian nuclear programme," he said.

Asked if the guarantees carried by the Iranian minister were satisfactory, Sheikh Mohammad said the talks did not involve technical details.

"The Kuwaiti position is very clear that the party concerned to discuss technical matters is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he said.

Mottaki's visit to Kuwait comes ahead of planned visits by the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia and China, who are expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.

Related Links

US works to contain Iran in Gulf: report
Los Angeles (AFP) May 20, 2006
The United States has begun developing a containment strategy with Iran's Gulf neighbors that aims to spread missile defense systems across the region and interdict ships suspected of carrying nuclear technology, The Los Angeles Times reported in its Saturday edition.

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