Iran says it will safeguard nuclear rights

Iran Materials 1 December 2007 10:48 (UTC +04:00)

( Reuters ) - Iran said on Saturday it would safeguard its right to nuclear technology whatever European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana reported about his latest talks with Tehran.

Solana said he was disappointed after a meeting on Friday in London with Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili that was seen as a last chance to avert U.S. pressure for more U.N. sanctions against Iran over its disputed atomic program.

The absence of a breakthrough at the talks means six world powers meeting in Paris on Saturday will try to agree new penalties to propose to the United Nations, despite differences in their approach to halting Iran's nuclear program.

The United States is leading efforts to isolate Iran because it believes the Islamic Republic is seeking to build atomic bombs. Tehran says its nuclear plans are peaceful.

Asked how Iran would respond if Solana gave a negative report, Jalili said on his return from London:

"We expect a positive report but, anyhow, we will react accordingly to safeguard our nation's rights as a signatory of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) within the framework of the NPT."

Iran says it will not suspend uranium enrichment as demanded by the U.N. Security Council on grounds it is a national right.

Jalili said in London it was unacceptable to expect Iran to abandon enrichment, the part of Iran's program that most worries the West because it has both civilian and military uses.

He did not say what action Iran would take if a third U.N. sanctions resolution was passed but Iranian officials have said previously Iran could review its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Asked if he expected another U.N. resolution against Iran, Jalili said: "Currently there is a positive atmosphere based on the (IAEA's) report and our logical behavior within the framework of the NPT but there are a few powers that had pre-judgments to act against our logical behavior."

Iran is working with the IAEA on a plan agreed in August to answer outstanding questions about its nuclear program.

IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei, summarizing his report on Iran to the agency's 35-nation governing board, said in November Tehran was now making "good progress" towards resolving long outstanding questions by the end of this year.

The six powers meeting in Paris -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- have said they would pass a new U.N. resolution if there was no progress over Iran's nuclear program by December.

But they remain at odds over how soon to resort to more U.N. penalties, or how harsh they should be.

Russia and China, and to a lesser extent Germany, have close commercial ties with Iran and have taken a less hawkish approach than the United States, Britain and France.