Iran Says It Won’t Stop Enriching Uranium
Iran said Sunday that it would not suspend uranium enrichment, ruling out the main demand in an international package of incentives aimed at getting Tehran to curb its nuclear program.
Iran has said it will formally respond by Tuesday to proposals made by the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. The six have offered inducements for Iran to suspend enrichment, a process that has both military and civilian uses.
Tehran, which insists that its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity, has shown no sign of accepting the package.
“The issue was that everything should come out of negotiations, but suspension of uranium enrichment is not on our agenda,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said during a weekly news conference.
Western diplomats say Iran must halt the atomic work before talks can start. Any response short of that is likely to be considered a rejection of the offer in Western capitals.
“As the proposal has had several dimensions, our answer will be multidimensional too,” Asefi said, suggesting that Iran will not give a clear yes or no.
Last month, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend enrichment by Aug. 31 or face possible sanctions.
The package offers Iran state-of-the-art nuclear technology, the easing of some trade restrictions and other incentives such as support for a regional security dialogue.
The United States has said it will join multilateral talks with Iran if it accepts. But Washington has also warned of swift U.N. action if Iran refuses.