'Iran determined to defend N-rights'

'Iran determined to defend N-rights'

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei has reiterated the Islamic Republic's determination to defend its rights to peaceful nuclear technology, Press TV reported.

"Iran is firm in defending its legitimate rights to use nuclear energy for peaceful applications in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Khazaei said in a statement on Tuesday.

He rejected "unfounded and unconstructive" claims about Iran's nuclear program, stressing that nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran "are peaceful and will be in the future."

This issue has been repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he said.

The envoy reaffirmed Iran's commitment to the NPT and added, "The Islamic Republic is determined to continue cooperating with the IAEA within the framework of (the agency's) Safeguards Agreements."

Khazaei noted that Iran's legitimate rights to use peaceful nuclear energy include uranium enrichment and the complete fuel cycle based on the NPT, "which should be recognized by the P5+1 - Russia, China, Britain, France and the US plus Germany."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has always expressed its readiness to go ahead with dialogue based on common understanding and mutual respect," the Iranian diplomat concluded.

The statement comes after the European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that the international community has a duty to apply sanctions to maintain pressure on Iran.

"The sanctions that we have in place, which are designed to bring Iran to the table, have not long been in operation so the potential for the impact has not yet been realized, but from my perspective, I would prefer that we sort this out with dialogue as quickly as possible," she said after a debate at the UN Security Council.

"I hope Iran will realize that if it is serious about what it says, it wants a peaceful nuclear program, it simply can't have one these days without international cooperation," she added.

"If they are not interested in that, then the international community has responsibilities," Ashton declared.

The US and its allies have accused Iran, with no proven basis, of efforts to develop a military nuclear program, using this pretext to pressure the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions against the country's financial and military sectors.

Iranian officials have repeatedly refuted the US-sponsored charges, arguing that as a signatory to the NPT and a member of the IAEA, Tehran has the right to utilize peaceful nuclear technology.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) held their latest round of multifaceted negotiations in the Turkish city of Istanbul on January 21-22.

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