Iran ready to talk, but won't back down on nuclear rights

In letter to Ashton, Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator says any "measure that would lead to the deprivation" of Tehran's rights "unacceptable."

By REUTERS
September 13, 2011 13:52
1 minute read.
Natanz nuclear facility, 300 km south of Tehran.

Natanz nuclear facility_311 reuters. (photo credit: STR New / Reuters)

VIENNA - Iran has told the EU's foreign policy chief it is ready to hold fresh talks "for cooperation on common issues" but its letter to Catherine Ashton also makes clear it has no intention of backing down on its "rights" in the nuclear row with the West.

The letter from Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to Ashton, dated Sept. 6 and obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, seemed unlikely to be welcomed by Western powers as signaling a substantive step forward.

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In the letter, Jalili spoke of the "necessity of achieving a comprehensive, long-term and negotiated solution for both sides."

But he also stated that any "measures that would lead to the deprivation" of countries' rights under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "including the noble nation of Iran is unacceptable."

When using such language, Iran usually refers among other things to what it sees as its right to enrich uranium, activity it says is aimed at fueling nuclear power plants but which the West suspects is part of a covert drive to develop a nuclear arms capability.

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