Iran says that it has "the absolute right" to enrich uranium
The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany meet with Iran over their nuclear program. (Image credit: AFP)
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that his country has the "absolute right" to enrich uranium.” His comments come a week before the October 15 talks between Iran and six world powers that include the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
AFP reports that Mr. Zarif also called for the easing of sanctions on Iran.
"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," Mr. Zarif added after a meeting in Tehran with the visiting Swiss deputy foreign minister, Yves Rossier.
Iran denies charges that it is enriching uranium to build a nuclear bomb. Its relations with the West have thawed after the election of the moderate President Hasan Rouhani. President Obama made a historic phone call to Mr. Rouhani following the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
The group of six put together a proposal at Almaty, which proposed Iran suspend uranium enrichment at the 20 percent level it says it needs for a medical research reactor. They also asked Iran to halt enrichment at its underground plant at Fordo. In return, Iran was promised an easing of sanctions on gold and petrochemicals.
However, Zarif said the Almaty talks were now "history.” He asked the group "should come to the negotiating table with a new approach".
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday echoed similar sentiments.
"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 said after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Indonesia.