Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh addressing the IAEA earlier this month (epa)
March 31, 2006 -- Iranian officials have rejected calls from world powers to halt uranium enrichment, a process which can produce fuel for nuclear power stations or atomic bombs.
Western news agencies quote Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, Iran's representative to the United Nation's nuclear watchdog agency, as saying Tehran's decision to pursue enrichment is not reversible.
His comments came after the UN Security Council on March 30 unanimously approved a statement demanding that Tehran suspend uranium enrichment activities and calling on the UN nuclear agency to report on Iran's compliance in 30 days.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on March 30 said Iran could eventually face international sanctions if it refuses demands to halt enrichment.
But senior diplomats from Russia and China, speaking after a meeting of the five permanent Security Council members in Berlin, indicated their governments did not support sanctions or the use of force against Iran.
(compiled from agency reports)
A demonstration in support of Iran's nuclear program outside the Isfahan uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan in January (epa)
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