(photo credit: AP)
Iran's Foreign Minister rejected the principle of a European package that would require Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for support to a civilian nuclear program, state-run television reported Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Teheran would however welcome a solution that recognized the Islamic republic's right to produce nuclear fuel under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
"Any demand for suspension of, or halt to, (our) peaceful nuclear activities is illogical and unacceptable and will undoubtedly be rejected," the television quoted Mottaki as saying late Monday.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday after meeting with Chinese officials that Russia and China would not vote for the use of force in resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute.
"China and Russia agree that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue," Lavrov told reporters. "Russia and China will not vote for the use of force in resolving this issue."
Western governments have been pressing Iran to give up nuclear development, which they fear is aimed at producing weapons.
The United States earlier sought a UN Security Council resolution to declare the program a threat to world peace and subject Iran to sanctions or even military action if it isn't halted. Beijing and Moscow hold veto power in the council.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday that he urged Iran to work with European countries to settle the dispute about the Middle East country's nuclear plans.
"Until recently we were focused on North Korea. Today we also have Iran," Annan said. "The international community has to take very urgent steps to deal with these issues."
In the latest diplomatic initiative, the European Union offered Iran economic incentives to stop enriching uranium. But the Iranian president rejected that on Sunday.