No nuclear weapons assurance for 'peaceful' uranium enrichment right, Iran's deputy foreign minister

Ahram Online , Thursday 5 Jul 2012

Iran proclaims its willingness to halt its nuclear activities if the international community recognises its right to engage in 'peaceful' uranium enrichment

Asurface-to-surface missile is launched during the Iranian Revolutionary Guards maneuver in an undisclosed location in Iran, Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Sayed Abbas Araghchi said that Tehran is prepared to discontinue its nuclear activities if it receives clear international recognition concerning its rights to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

“The international community has to accept the fact that Iran has the legitimate right to use nuclear technology; only then we would announce our position rejecting the possession of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones," Araghchi told the news agency.

The Islamic republic on Monday launched a three-day drill in the country’s central desert region days after the European Union and the United States imposed severe new sanctions and on the eve of another round of negotiations with world powers seeking to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran has previously warned it would target US bases if Israel or the United States made good on threats to attack it.

This week's military manoeuvres in Iran took place during negotiations in Istanbul Tuesday between representatives from Iran and from the P5+1 group comprising the five permanent UN Security Council members — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — plus Germany.

Talks have faltered through three rounds held this year, with it becoming clear that a vast distance divided the two sides. As a result, they have now been downgraded from a political director level to that of experts.

Iran chafes under the West's "carrot and stick" approach aimed at rolling back its nuclear programme through bargaining in negotiations, and through the harder tactics of sanctions and the US threat of military action if all else fails.

Tehran has defiantly forged on with its atomic activities, particularly its highly sensitive uranium enrichment programme, while repeatedly denying Western suspicions that it is seeking nuclear weapon "break-out" capability.

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