Reuters: Iran on Sunday rejected European demands it halt its pursuit of nuclear technology but reiterated its readiness to provide assurances it would not use that technology to build atomic weapons.
Western diplomats have said Britain, France and Germany are demanding that Tehran halt all parts of the atomic fuel cycle -- particularly uranium enrichment -- that can be used to make a bomb. Reuters

TEHRAN - Iran on Sunday rejected European demands it halt its pursuit of nuclear technology but reiterated its readiness to provide assurances it would not use that technology to build atomic weapons.

Western diplomats have said Britain, France and Germany are demanding that Tehran halt all parts of the atomic fuel cycle -- particularly uranium enrichment -- that can be used to make a bomb.

The European Union trio have proposed a draft resolution for a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna starting on Monday which gives Iran until November to dispel doubts about its atomic ambitions.

Tehran rejects accusations that it has a covert atom bomb programme. It says its nuclear facilities will be used only to generate electricity.

Asked about the EU trio's stance, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi reiterated that Iran had no intention of abandoning its efforts to master the entire nuclear fuel cycle.

"If the Europeans and the international community want assurances that nuclear technology will be for peaceful purposes, we are ready to give assurances," Asefi told a weekly news conference.

"But if the issue is that we cannot master nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, that is out of the question because we have already reached that point," he said.

Iran insists that as a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes under IAEA supervision.

"We are ready to give assurances, because right from the start we said that using nuclear weapons is forbidden ... No group in the country is thinking of acquiring nuclear weapons," Asefi said.

He said Iran was also prepared to discuss other issues of interest to EU countries, including human rights, economic issues and what Washington has alleged is Iran's support for terrorist groups.

"We think it is a pity that Iran and Europe's huge potentials are focussed on only one issue ... We are thinking of a comprehensive cooperation with Europe and negotiations covering those subjects are part of it."

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