TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran will not give up its right to enrich uranium, a senior Iranian official said on Saturday, days before major powers submit an upgraded package of incentives in an effort to incite Tehran to give up its right of uranium enrichment.
“Suspending enrichment is not negotiable … Depriving Iran of its right cannot be on offer,” Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told a weekly news conference.
Iran has agreed to a visit by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to submit the package of incentives, in exchange for a full suspension of uranium enrichment.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – and Germany, known as the P5+1, offered a package to Iran in 2006 that also required Iran to give up its right of nuclear enrichment.
Tehran rejected those proposals and the latest package is allegedly an enhanced version, but Western diplomats said the offer contained no major new enticements.
Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, and says it will only negotiate with the UN nuclear watchdog.
Elham said no date had been set for Solana’s trip. “We have agreed on the trip, but no specific date has been set yet.”
Solana spokeswoman Cristina Gallach said Wednesday that the EU Foreign Policy chief is hoping to visit Tehran ‘in the coming weeks’ to present the West’s recently-prepared incentives package.
Iran has also handed over a “proposed package for constructive negotiations”.
The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
Iran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.
Iran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed after it answered the UN agency’s questions about the history of its nuclear program.
The US is at loggerheads with Iran over the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran’s nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.
Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.
The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.
Tehran says it wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.
Iran has also insisted that it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.
Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.
US President George W. Bush finished a tour of the Middle East in winter to gain the consensus of his Arab allies to unite against Iran.
But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.
Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.