Iran Nuclear 224.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran said Sunday it was a "big mistake" for the US and its allies to think the UN Security Council will be able to force Teheran to give up uranium enrichment, but it insisted it was open to negotiations over its nuclear program.
The comments by Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi came as a team from the UN nuclear watchdog agency were in Iran to inspect its facilities for uranium enrichment and uranium reprocessing, a visit Iran hopes will boost its case that its intentions are peaceful.
"If they (the US and its European allies) think referring Iran to the UN Security Council makes Iran to give up its rights, they have made a big mistake," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters Sunday.
"Research-scale enrichment is within our rights ... we don't believe that the language of force will make Iran relinquish its legitimate rights. Nuclear research activities are continuing," he told a press conference.
Five inspectors from the IAEA on Sunday were visiting Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility in Isfahan, which reprocesses raw uranium into hexaflouride gas, the feedstock for enrichment.
The team was next due to visit the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, where Iran resumed small-scale research enrichment in February. The five inspectors, who arrived in Teheran Friday, will stay in Iran for five days, state-run television reported.
Uranium enriched to low levels is used to produce nuclear fuel but further enrichment makes it suitable for use in an atomic bomb.
IAEA cheif Mohamed ElBaradei is due to visit Iran next week and he is expected to try and wrest concessions from Teheran on its nuclear program. Asefi said the talks with ElBaradei would cover a wide range of topics, but did not elaborate.
"The doors of dialogue are open. We are seriously cooperating with the IAEA. We don't close the doors of dialogue with various countries at all," he said.