Iran to insist on enrichment right at nuclear talks: Jalili

AFP , Thursday 4 Apr 2013

Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief negotiator, insists on the right of the Islamic republic to enrich uranium

Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili (Photo: Reuters)

Iran will insist that its right to enrich uranium is recognised in talks this week with world powers on its disputed nuclear drive, Tehran's chief negotiator said Thursday.

"We think that they can open up tomorrow's (Friday's) talks with one phrase -- and that is to accept Iran's right, particularly its right to enrich," Saeed Jalili said in a speech at an Almaty university ahead of the negotiations in the Kazakh city.

"We hope that in Almaty, they do not repeat the bitter experience they have gone through in the 34 years of our revolution and that they make the right conclusion this spring," he said referring to the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the shah.

Jalili also appeared to downplay the chances of a one-on-one meeting with chief US negotiator Wendy Sherman -- talks Washington has been seeking for years.

"What our nation is expecting is for the US to correct its behaviour, and not in just words, and tomorrow in Almaty they are in for another test," said Jalili.

"Those who come to negotiations should come with logic and not threats, saying that all the options are on the table. This is contrary to common sense."

Iran and the so-called P5+1 nations -- the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany -- will sit down in Almaty from Friday for their fifth round of negotiations in the past two years.

The last talks held at the same venue in February saw the six nations present Iran with a proposal that would ease some sanctions in exchange for concessions on uranium enrichment.

The P5+1 grouping is particularly concerned about Iran's enrichment to levels of up to 20 percent and the Fordo fortified bunker where such activity is conducted.

The powers also want Iran to ship out its existing stockpile of 20-percent enriched material.

Iran denies it is developing the atomic bomb and argues that it needs its nuclear programme for peaceful medical and energy needs.

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