Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iran won't discuss nukes at nuke talks

Thumbing his nose at the West, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is about to score big again, humiliating the USA and earning the admiration of the US-haters in the Middle East. The US waited 9 or 10 months for "dialogue" with Iran about its nuclear program, but it seems the discussions that will open on Thursday will be about anything but that.
Last update - 14:34 29/09/2009       
Iran refuses to discuss nuclear 'rights' in talks with world powers
By News Agencies
Iran will not discuss issues related to its nuclear "rights" at its meeting with six world powers in Geneva on Thursday, the Islamic Republic's nuclear energy agency chief said on Tuesday.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, made clear this included a recently exposed uranium enrichment plant that has drawn Western condemnation.
"We are not going to discuss anything related to our nuclear rights, but we can discuss about disarmament, we can discuss about non-proliferation and other general issues," Salehi told reporters, three days before the crucial talks with world powers worried about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"The new site is part of our rights and there is no need to discuss [it]," he said, adding Tehran would not abandon its nuclear activities "even for a second."
State Press TV quoted the official as saying late Monday that Iran would soon inform the United Nations nuclear watchdog of a timetable for inspection of the nuclear plant.
"Yes, the inspectors will come and inspect," Salehi said, adding Tehran was in constant contact with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"We are working out a timetable for the inspection and we will soon be writing a letter to them about the location of the facility and others," he said, without elaborating.
The exposure of a second nuclear fuel facility, under construction south of Tehran, added urgency to the rare meeting in Geneva on Thursday.
Iran conducted missile tests on Sunday and Monday, further ratcheting up the tension with Western powers.
U.S. President Barack Obama has demanded that Iran come clean on its disputed nuclear program and a White House spokesman on Monday urged "immediate unfettered access" to the new site.
Iran has rejected Western condemnation of the new facility, saying it is legal and open to investigation to the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Press TV, Iran's English-language state television, said Salehi had noted that the plant was under construction within the framework of IAEA regulations, saying, "Iran has taken all the precautionary steps to safeguard its nuclear facilities."
Citing its interview with Salehi, Press TV added: "Iran says it will soon inform the International Atomic Energy Agency of a timetable for inspection of its recently announced nuclear facility."
"Salehi said that his country will try to resolve the issue both politically and technically with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and the IAEA," Press TV said on its website.
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the IAEA, told the BBC on Monday he had had a couple of meetings with IAEA inspectors and it was agreed they would be given access to the site "in the near future". He gave no date.
The United States and its Western allies have made clear they will focus on Iran's nuclear program at the Geneva meeting. Iran has offered wide-ranging security talks but says it will not discuss its nuclear "rights."
Israel, the U.S. and other Western nations suspect Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb capability. Iran, a major oil producer, says its nuclear work is solely for generating electricity.
"It is against our tenets, it is against our religion to produce, use, hold or have nuclear weapons or arsenal, how can we more clearly state our position, since 1974 we have been saying this," Press TV quoted Salehi as saying.
Iran parliament warns against foreign pressure
Also on Tuesday, Iranian lawmakers warned the U.S. and other world powers against further pressures over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, just days ahead of the key international meeting.
Iran's parliament lashed out at criticism over the previously unknown uranium enrichment facility, but did not elaborate on what action would be taken if the pressure continued.
"If the 5+1 repeats the past mistakes, the parliament will put other decisions on agenda," lawmakers said in a statement, referring to the five members of the Security Council and Germany.
Parliament's warning could refer to a bill awaiting ratification in parliament that calls on the government to speed up its uranium enrichment activities.

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