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Iran Insists On Right To Enrich Uranium

Tehran, 10 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iran says it will resume uranium enrichment -- a key step in producing both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons -- once its problems with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency are resolved.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi today said in Tehran that Iran has "legitimate right" to enrich uranium.

Kharrazi said Iran may halt its cooperation with the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if European states fail to counter U.S. pressure over its nuclear program. He denied any intention by Tehran to build nuclear weapons.

The United States says Iran wants to make nuclear weapons and wanted the IAEA to condemn Tehran for not fully living up to pledges to reveal all past and present nuclear activities.

Reports say the United States, joined by Canada and Australia, reached tentative agreement on the Iran issue with Britain, France, and Germany to criticize Iran but stop short of seeking any immediate UN sanctions against Tehran.