DUBAI - Iran emphasized its right to continue to enrich uranium during crucial talks with world powers in Baghdad aimed at resolving Western concerns over its nuclear program, Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili said on Thursday.
"Of the main topics in using peaceful nuclear, energy is the topic of having the nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment. We emphasize this right."
"This is an undeniable right of the Iranian nation ... especially the right to enrich uranium," Saeed Jalili said during a televised news conference after the talks had drawn to a close.
The negotiator said Iran had abided by its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and it insisted on establishing a complete fuel cycle.
Jalili denied the P5+1 countries, the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, had offered a new package of proposals during the meeting:
"They proposed one suggestion about the issue of uranium enrichment. We have said that any cooperation (in this area) would depend on the preservation of Iran's right to enrich uranium."
The United States and its allies suspect Tehran is trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability and have imposed tough sanctions on Iran's energy and financial sectors to try to force it to compromise and open up its activities to scrutiny.
Iran has long stated that its activities are purely peaceful however, and pushed for an overt acceptance of its right to enrich uranium and an easing of sanctions, diplomats said.
European Union members states are set to introduce a total embargo of Iranian crude oil purchases in July. Diplomats say that potentially persuasive measures will not be cancelled unless Tehran takes substantial and demonstrative steps to curb its nuclear activities.
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