Ahmadinejad: Iran won't surrender its atomic rights

Ahead of nuclear talks, Iranian president strikes defiant tone, says Tehran "will not retreat even one iota from its rights"

April 12, 2012 14:58
1 minute read.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer)

DUBAI - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad struck a defiant tone on Thursday two days ahead of key atomic talks with major powers, saying the Islamic state would not surrender its nuclear rights "even under the most difficult pressure."

Talks between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain are set to resume in Istanbul on Saturday with the major powers hoping Iran will give enough ground to continue negotiations and avert the threat of a Middle East war. They are the first such talks in more than a year.

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Iran has promised to put forward "new initiatives" but has given no details.

"You should know that the Iranian nation is insisting on its fundamental rights and even under the most difficult pressure will not retreat even one iota from its rights," Ahmadinejad said of the upcoming talks, according to the official IRNA news agency.

While the substance of Ahmadinejad's comments on Thursday are not new - he has made similar defiant statements many times before - the timing is likely to be interpreted as a sign that Tehran may be unwilling to accept limits on its enrichment of uranium.

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The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili will represent Tehran at the talks.

But in comments on Wednesday he did not make it clear whether Iran would be willing to address its disputed uranium enrichment drive or not.

Previous rounds of talks between Iran and world powers have foundered, in part because of Tehran's refusal to negotiate on the scope of its enrichment work, with it instead floating general proposals for trade and security cooperation.

On Monday, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, raised the possibility that Iran could suspend enrichment to the 20 percent level of fissile purity if its needs were met.

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