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Iran says still committed to suspension of uranium enrichment

Tehran, Sept 26, IRNA -- Iran stressed Sunday its commitment to voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment, but warned against hauling Tehran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi reiterated Iran's overtures for dialogue after the world nuclear watchdog recently set a deadline for Tehran to come clean on its nuclear program.

Speaking at a weekly news briefing, he said nothing has changed since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a resolution which called on Tehran to freeze all enrichment activities.

In a move to prove its good faith, Tehran has voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment and manufacture of centrifuge components.

Moreover, the Islamic Republic has signed an additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), allowing snap inspections of its nuclear activities.

Asefi said, "We are still committed to voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment and have not yet started injection of (hexafluride) gas to (centrifuges)."

The Foreign Ministry spokesman further played down several Iranian MPs' call to quit the NPT, saying the issue is not 'seriously on our agenda yet'.

"Several MPs believe that if the Europeans and the IAEA treat Iran improperly, such an action has to be taken, but this is only their view.

"However, Iran will adjust its policies according to the performance and decision of the opposite side (the Europeans)," Asefi added.

He said, "We do not want Iran's file referred to the Security Council, but in case of a referral, the Europeans will be harmed more than us."

The IAEA Board of Governors recently approved a resolution, setting a November 25 deadline for a full review of Iran's nuclear program and calling on Tehran to 'immediately' suspend all uranium enrichment activities.

The Europeans, however, opposed Washington's demand to set an October 31 ultimatum for Tehran to fully suspend uranium enrichment or report Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Asefi said, "The Islamic Republic has the capacity to fend off every serious problem even if its dossier is sent to the Security Council.

"But world countries must refrain from using the language of force and threats since it is the worst approach in international relations," he added.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said a 'bridge has to be built between the Europeans' concerns and Iran's legitimate right to peaceful nuclear technology'.

The official stressed that nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's defensive doctrine, but did not mince his words when asked about a possible Israeli attack on the country's nuclear facilities.

"Israel is well aware of its own capacity and that of Iran's and such threats are aimed at deviating public opinion since Israel is not at a level to square up to Iran.

"Israel has no right to pass its views in this respect, and as a country which has the most sophisticated and destructive atomic weapons it is not permitted to say who is entitled to have nuclear weapons and who is not," Asefi added.

Iran has already dismissed the world nuclear watchdog's demand to freeze uranium enrichment, saying the country does no accept any obligation in this regard.

"Any resolution which seek to bind us to suspension (of uranium enrichment) is unacceptable and we will not accept such an obligation," Hassan Rowhani, who is secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, has said.

"The Islamic Republic has never accepted the suspension under a resolution, thus the country cannot be obliged on that and Iran can only be asked through negotiations to (continue) the suspension," he said after the IAEA adopted its resolution on Sept 18.

Rowhani chided the Europeans for failing to honor their 'political and moral commitment' they took during a meeting in Tehran last year, saying Iran 'will register this in their record book as a case of the three countries' inability to live up to their promises'.

The non-aligned nations had challenged the draft resolution for taking Iran to task for uranium enrichment, which is allowed under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA meeting repudiated the resolution, saying it smacks more of politics.

Hossein Mousavian stated that the resolution has ignored IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei's report about Tehran's 'cooperation and good will'.

"Iran considers (the resolution) as totally political and the Europeans' behavior as illogical," he told IRNA on the sidelines of the IAEA board of governors' meeting held in Vienna.

Iran says its nuclear program is aimed at power generation, rejecting US accusations that the program is a cover to build an atomic bomb.

... Payvand News - 9//26/04 ... --

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