Iran Says Won't Move All Atomic Work to Russia
Iran said on Monday it had no intention of moving all of its uranium enrichment work to Russia to allay the international community's fears that it could use nuclear fuel technology to make atomic bombs. READ MORE
Western countries say the only way Iran can prove it is not seeking a bomb is for it to stop enriching uranium. But the Islamic Republic insists it has every right to turn the uranium ore mined in its central deserts into nuclear reactor fuel.
"There is no discussion about plans to give up enrichment on our soil and it is a wrong argument that the enrichment should be done in Russia," said government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham.
"Enrichment in Iran ... will continue," he told a weekly news conference.
A Russian offer to enrich uranium on Iran's behalf has made little progress with Tehran saying it would be willing to pass some but not all of its fuel work over to Moscow.
Igor Ivanov, Secretary of Russia's Security Council, held talks with senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday.
But there was no sign of a breakthrough with Iran's Supreme National Security Council issuing a statement to say that the two sides had agreed to continue talking.
"The general approach is that Iran's case should remain in the (International Atomic Energy) Agency and if it does so all international and legal supervisions will continue and that is in everyone's interest," Elham added.
Iran's case has been referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. Tehran says it is developing a nuclear program that will produce electricity, not bombs.
Angered by its referral to the world body, Tehran stopped allowing snap U.N. checks of its atomic facilities.
Russia, a veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, has criticized Iran for enriching uranium in defiance of the world body. However, it has some important energy ties with Iran and opposes the use of sanctions against Tehran.
Russia is helping Iran build its first atomic power station at the Gulf port of Bushehr and is interested in further nuclear co-operation. Russia's LUKOIL is exploring the Anaran oilfield in the world's fourth biggest crude producer.