Iran's Khatami rules out halt to uranium enrichment; optimistic on nuclear talks
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami on Tuesday categorically ruled out a definitive halt to uranium enrichment as demanded by European states to end a standoff over its nuclear program.
"Our nation must be given the assurance that it will not be stripped of its right (to enrich uranium)," Khatami told reporters in Tehran.
However, he said he was optimistic that negotiations with European states on the nuclear dossier would not result in Tehran being brought before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
Khatami reiterated Iran's principled stand regarding its nuclear programs, saying if countries decide independently and are not subjected to U.S. pressure, its nuclear dossier with the IAEA can be closed.
With regards to a new round of talks between European and Iranian officials to take place in Paris on Friday, he said, "I am optimistic.
"Both sides are showing flexibility."
According to IRNA news agency, Khatami further assured the world that the Islamic Republic has no plans to produce nuclear weapons and called on foreign countries, particularly European states, to reciprocate by acknowledging the Iranian nation's legal right to continue with its nuclear energy programs. (Albawaba.com)