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Iran Says It Will Not Stop Uranium Enrichment

Manuchehr Mottaki

Manuchehr Mottaki

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran will not stop uranium enrichment even if it is guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel from abroad, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki has said.

Iran's ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was quoted as saying on October 2 in Brussels that Iran would consider renouncing enrichment if it was assured of fuel supplies from abroad.

But Mottaki, asked whether Tehran would shelve enrichment with such a guarantee, said: "No...Iran's uranium-enrichment policy remains unchanged. Enrichment will continue until Iran becomes self-sufficient in fuel production for nuclear plants."

Iran says it needs to master nuclear fuel-cycle technology to supply nuclear power stations. The United States and its European allies fear the Islamic state is trying to build bombs under cover of its nuclear program.

Tehran has been hit by international sanctions for refusing to suspend enrichment, a process which can be used to make both fuel for reactors and the fissile core of an atom bomb.

"As soon as we become self-sufficient in fuel production, we are ready to supply it to countries in need," Mottaki told reporters.

Iran condemned a nuclear deal between the United States and India. The deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saidi, said it violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Saeedi said transferring nuclear technology to nuclear-armed India, which unlike Iran has not signed the NPT, would undermine the treaty.

The U.S. Senate approved a landmark deal on October 1, ending a three-decade ban on U.S. nuclear trade with India.