Iran insists on nuclear rights before London meeting
(Reuters) - The Iranian president on Wednesday insisted on Iran's right to the full range of nuclear technology, hours before world powers meet in London to discuss efforts to convince Iran to give up uranium enrichment.
Senior officials from UN Security Council permanent members China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain, plus Germany, meet in London later in the day to discuss measures to convince Iran to stop enrichment work, reports Trend.
Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to make nuclear bombs under cover of a civilian program, a charge Iran denies.
"Using nuclear energy is Iran's right," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr, in a speech broadcast live on state television.
He again hailed the Islamic Republic's achievement, announced last month, in enriching uranium in small quantities to the level used in power stations, a move that defied UN calls to stop the sensitive nuclear work.
"Iran possesses the nuclear fuel cycle from zero to 100," he said.
Iran says its right to enrich uranium is enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Western diplomats say such a right can only be exercised once Iran reassures the world its goals are peaceful and which they say Tehran has yet to do.
"The enemies who could not stop the Iranian nation of reaching nuclear technology by means of political pressure, conspiracies and using the tool of international organizations are now plotting against us," Ahmadinejad said.
Britain, France and Germany are putting together a package likely to include an offer of a light-water reactor and an assured supply from abroad of fuel for civilian atomic plants so Iran would not have to enrich uranium itself.
But U.S. demands that Iran face sanctions if it continues to defy calls for an end to enrichment have faced resistance by Russia. The London meeting seeks to patch over the differences.
Ahmadinejad has previously said accepting the European proposal would be like swapping gold for candy.
The United States says it wants a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff, but has consistently refused to rule out the option of military action should diplomacy fail.
"Any kind of aggression or thoughts of assaults (on Iran) will receive a historical slap in the face by the youth of Khorramshahr and the Iranian nation," Ahmadinejad told the rally.