Iran says will continue nuclear enrichment

Iran insisted on Tuesday that it would continue to enrich uranium, a senior Iranian official said in defiance of UN demands to halt the sensitive nuclear work.
“Iran’s decision to preserve this right (to enrichment) is definite and irreversible,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a statement.
He said that any European proposal on its nuclear programme should not violate this right which he said was enshrined in the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.
The European Union, with US backing, is drawing up incentives and penalties to offer Iran as part of an effort to pass a UN Security Council Resolution obliging Iran to stop enrichment, which can be used for civilian or military ends. Russia and China have objected to such a resolution.
“No incentive is better than implementation of the NPT and the (International Atomic Energy) Agency’s regulations without any discrimination,” Asefi said.
The NPT says signatories are allowed to research, develop and produce nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. Western diplomats say Iran must first prove its peaceful intentions before it can exercise such a right.
The IAEA has said that after more than three years of probing it still cannot confirm that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely peaceful although the UN watchdog has found no hard proof of a military programme.

Copyright Reuters, 2006