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Iran: Tehran Won't Give Up Enriching Uranium

Washington, 29 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Iran's foreign minister said Iran is ready to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but also wants to continue enriching uranium to produce fuel for power plants. Highly enriched uranium can be used to make nuclear weapons, which the United States accuses Iran of trying to do. Iran denies this, saying the purpose of its nuclear program is only to generate electricity.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, appearing on U.S. ABC television on 28 September, said Iran would continue with "legal" enrichment activities within boundaries set by the UN's IAEA and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Kharazi said Iran is ready to sign an Additional Protocol that would permit expanded UN nuclear inspections in Iran, so long as Iran could continue its uranium-enrichment activities.

The IAEA has given Iran a deadline of 31 October to prove to the agency that its nuclear program is peaceful. IAEA inspectors are due to visit Tehran on 2 October.

U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend called on Iran to give up any hope of building nuclear weapons and expand cooperation with the UN.