Tehran, Iran, Nov. 28 â€“ Iran rejected late Monday European requests that it move parts of its nuclear enrichment program out of the country and allow enrichment of uranium to be carried out in Russia.
The EU-3 â€“ France, Germany, and the United Kingdom â€“ which suspect that Tehranâ€™s nuclear program is for military purposes and are negotiating with Iran to reach a solution, had suggested that the Islamic Republic carry out uranium enrichment â€“ the precursor for the development of an atomic bomb â€“ in Russia to alleviate international fears that it was developing a nuclear weapon.
In a major concession, British, French, and German Foreign Ministers â€“ Jack Straw, Philippe Douste-Blazy, and Frank-Walter Steinmeier respectively â€“ recently lifted their objections to Tehranâ€™s resumption of enrichment-related activities in its Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan, central Iran, in the hopes of getting Tehran to return to the negotiating table.
Since September, negotiations between the EU-3 and Tehran had stalled after the latter unilaterally breached their agreement by recommencing work at Isfahan.
On Monday, however, Hossein Entezami, the spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), told the state news agency IRNA that the â€œentire process of uranium enrichment must be conducted inside Iranâ€.
The SNSC is the body in charge of Tehranâ€™s nuclear negotiations with the West. â€œThe country’s high-ranking officials intend to have the full cycle of nuclear fuel production in our own soil, in other words, they want Iran to join the world nuclear clubâ€, Entezami said. â€œWhen we talk about the entire cycle of producing the nuclear fuel inside Iran we mean all stages of enrichment need to be conducted in this country relying on technical knowledge of Iranian expertsâ€.
The SNSC spokesman said that even though Tehran had proposed international cooperation over its nuclear activities that did not mean that it was ready for â€œconducting a part of our enrichment activities abroadâ€. â€œYielding to such a demand, particularly in case of those parts of the nuclear fuel production that are more technical and require higher precision, wouldâ€¦ deprive us of mastering the complete technology for goodâ€.
He added that the recent November 24 session of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed that concerns about Tehranâ€™s hard-line approach in some quarters in Iran were â€œunfoundedâ€.
â€œI remind you of the Western threats before November 24, when they kept reminding us that if we would not shut down our Isfahan UCF facility again it would be interpreted as Iran’s defiant stand that would definitely result in forwarding our dossier to the [United Nations Security Council], and that the result would be economic sanctionsâ€.
â€œThe result of the recent IAEA session proves that we can, relying on our rational conduct and elaborating our nation’s demands, while respecting the international laws and our commitments and refraining from any type of extremism, achieve our goals in this respectâ€, Entezami added.
The SNSC spokesman said that he hoped that during an upcoming new round of talks between the Foreign Ministers of the EU-3 and Ali Larijani, Iranâ€™s chief nuclear negotiator and SNSC secretary general, a mutual understanding would be reached so that Iran could defend its â€œrightâ€ to carry out nuclear activities.