Iran defiant on atomic plans
(News.com.au) IRAN would not abandon its right to nuclear technology despite the threat of more sanctions, it told France, a day before talks to try to defuse its row with the West.
Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs under cover of a civilian program, which Tehran denies.
The US has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end the standoff.
But the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran would need three to eight years to make a nuclear bomb, allowing time for negotiations.
The meeting in Rome was scheduled to be between European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator whose resignation was announced on Saturday. He would now attend with his replacement.
The new chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili, is a close ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Analysts say his appointment signals a shift to a more uncompromising line.
France, which has toughened its line against Tehran since President Nicolas Sarkozy took office in May, insisted before the talks that Iran must heed UN demands.
Tehran's refusal to halt nuclear work that could, if Iran wanted, be used to make material for warheads has prompted the UN security council to impose two sets of sanctions. World powers are considering a third round.