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Iran asks EU to explain why it should stop uranium enrichment

Iran's foreign minister urged the European Union Saturday to explain why Tehran should stop uranium enrichment activities.
TEHRAN, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's foreign minister urged the European Union Saturday to explain why Tehran should stop uranium enrichment activities.

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1696 July 31, demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment by August 31 or face possible economic and diplomatic sanctions. However, an IAEA report said Tehran refused to suspend the program and blocked IAEA inspectors from inspecting Iran's nuclear facilities.

"We see no reason for stopping [uranium] enrichment," Manuchehr Mottaki said, adding Iran is ready to negotiate on the issue and reach an agreement.

Iran's president said Friday the UN Security Council has ruined its reputation, while its resolutions have become irrelevant.

"The U.S. and the U.K. want to censure us [over Iran's nuclear program] by using the UN Security Council, but its resolutions have lost their relevance and authority," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said.

He also said Iran is ready to sell nuclear fuel to the West at a heavy discount.

"The West is opposed to any progress in this country, and its offer of help is a lie, pure and simple," he said. "Why should they supply us with nuclear fuel? We will produce our own nuclear fuel over the next five years, selling it at a 50% discount."

He said Iran fully honors its international obligations in the nuclear realm and intends to pursue its peaceful nuclear program.

Last week, the United States and Britain renewed their calls for international sanctions against Iran after negotiations between the country's key nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana failed to produce any breakthrough.

A Russian expert said Friday should sanctions be used against Iran, it could pull out of the IAEA and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

"This would mean the [total] collapse of the international document [NPT]," said Rajab Safarov, director of the Center for Iranian Studies and member of the Political Council, an advisory body to the Russian president.

President Ahmadinejad said last Wednesday Iran is determined to develop full nuclear fuel cycle technology.

"They [the West] must know that possession of the full nuclear fuel cycle technology is the desire of the whole Iranian people," he said at a public meeting.

Ahmadinejad said Iran acts in the nuclear sphere within international law, and is willing to continue talks on its nuclear program [with the international community].

"Why should we do it [declare a unilateral moratorium on nuclear research]?" the Iranian leader said. "If our nuclear cycle is dangerous, then yours is dangerous, too."

The six powers mediating the Iranian nuclear issue, the five permanent UN Security Council members, plus Germany, have been trying to persuade Iran to accept a package of incentives, and suspend uranium enrichment, which many countries believe is the beginning of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

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