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      Iran's FM Insists on 'Absolute Right' to Enrich Uranium

      Enriching uranium "is the absolute right of Iran," says Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ahead of next round of nuclear talks.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 10/8/2013, 4:13 AM

      Mohammad Javad Zarif
      Mohammad Javad Zarif
      Reuters

      Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted on Monday that his country has the "absolute right" to enrich uranium on its soil, the ISNA news agency reported.

      "The mastery of civil nuclear technology, including the enrichment of uranium, on Iranian soil is the absolute right of Iran," Zarif said at a meeting in Tehran with the visiting Swiss deputy foreign minister, Yves Rossier, according to the AFP news agency.

      "The events of recent years have shown that the approach of threats and sanctions have not ensured the interests and objectives of the other party, and the continuation of this approach is the repetition of past mistakes which cannot prevent Iran from mastering civilian nuclear technology," he added.

      The West and Israel have long accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs in the guise of a civilian program, charges Tehran has always vehemently denied

      Iran and six world powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States - are set to resume negotiations in Geneva on October 15 to try to find a solution to the nuclear issue.

      These talks would be the first between Iran and the six since the election in June of President Hassan Rouhani, who has called for a speedy settlement of an issue that has been stalled for eight years.

      At meetings in Almaty this year, the six proposed Iran suspend uranium enrichment at the 20 percent level it says it needs for a medical research reactor, and to halt enrichment at its underground plant at Fordow.

      In return, they would ease some sanctions on trade in gold and petrochemicals.

      However, Zarif said on Sunday the offers were now "history" and that the group "should come to the negotiating table with a new approach."

      U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday urged Iran to come up with new proposals.

      "The group of six put a proposal on the table at Almaty and I don't believe as of yet Iran has fully responded to that particular proposal. So I think we are waiting for the fullness of the Iranian difference in their approach now," Kerry was quoted by AFP as having told reporters in Indonesia after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

      "So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that will fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful," he added.

      Iran’s new president has said that Tehran would not give up "one iota" of its nuclear rights, but has also urged the world to seize the opportunity of his election to resolve the nuclear dispute.

      In a recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Rouhani asserted that his country posed a threat to no one and, while calling for an “end to violence and extremism”, said his country is willing to hold time-bound talks on its nuclear program.