Iran rejects Russian nuclear offer

Iran rejects Russian nuclear offer25/12/2005

(AFP) – Iran rejected an offer from Russia for the Islamic republic to conduct uranium enrichment activities on its soil, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

"We have still not received the concrete offer, but it is clear that we will accept positively the propositions and the plans that recognize the right of the Islamic republic to carry out enrichment on its own soil," he told reporters Sunday.

Russia on Saturday had said its proposal to create "on Russian soil a joint Russo-Iranian undertaking to enrich uranium still stands," despite earlier indications from Tehran that it was not interested.

The Russian embassy in Tehran put the suggestion put to the Iranian government on Saturday, the Russian foreign ministry said.

"This proposal represents Russia’s contribution to the search for a solution acceptable to all in the context of the settling of the situation… by political and diplomatic methods," it said in a statement.

The Europe Union wants Iran to accept the Russian idea that enrichment operations should take place in Russia without the direct involvement of Iranian scientists.

EU negotiators Britain, France and Germany restarted talks Wednesday with Iran over Western concerns about Tehran’s nuclear programme and agreed to meet again in January.

Asefi, however, refused to confirm January 18 as the date for resuming negotiations.

"It is one date among others. But it is certain that the negotiations will restart in January," he said.