Enrichment 'not step towards bomb': Ahmadinejad

Iran's president has insisted enriching uranium to 20 percent "is our right" and not a step towards a bomb, as a US envoy warned the window for dialogue over Tehran's nuclear programme was closing.

The enrichment activity, which world powers are trying to curb in fraught talks with Iran, "is one of our rights in terms of international law", President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday in an interview with the satellite television network France 24.

"There have been lies about our programme... Enriching uranium to 20 percent is not a step towards a bomb," he insisted, speaking Farsi through translators.

Ahmadinejad hinted however that Iran could be open to stopping 20 percent enrichment -- if world powers offer significant concessions.

"If others do not wish for us to fully benefit from this right, they need to explain to us why. And also they have to say what they are willing to give to the Iranian people in exchange."

US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, warned that the window for dialogue over Iran's nuclear programme was closing, insisting that Washington was under no illusions about Tehran's agenda in the talks.

Speaking at Tel Aviv University a week after world powers held a second round of largely fruitless talks with Iran, the US ambassador said Washington would not continue such dialogue forever.

"We don't intend on continuing talks for talks' sake. The window is closing," he told participants attending an international security conference at the university.

"We have no illusions that Iran may be using this to buy time," he said. "It is up to Iran to follow through. The burden falls on Iran to prove it is serious."

Iran and the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany -- achieved little in two days of intense talks in Baghdad last week, except for setting up another meeting in Moscow in June.

Shapiro said there were "significant differences" at the Baghdad talks, but also "a narrow common ground", which the parties would try to build on in the Russian capital.

And he said the threat of military action against Iran's nuclear facilities was still open.

"As we apply all elements of American power to prevent a nuclear Iran, the United States takes no option off the table -- that means a political component, a diplomatic component, an economic component and a military option," he said.

Neither the US nor Israel has ruled out the option of a military strike, but the administration of President Barack Obama has made clear it favours diplomacy over force at this stage.

The UN Security Council has issued six resolutions demanding Iran suspend all uranium enrichment. It has also imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran, which Western powers have hardened with their own harsh economic sanctions.

The West suspects Tehran is secretly developing nuclear weapons capability.

Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is peaceful, enriches uranium to 3.5 percent for its Bushehr atomic energy plant in the south of the country., but insists it needs 20 percent uranium to create medical isotopes in its Tehran research reactor.

"Why should the 20 percent enrichment create doubt? The Western powers have nuclear bombs. Should we trust them? Which is more dangerous, an atomic bomb or the 20 percent (enrichment)?" Ahmadinejad asked.

The 20 percent enrichment issue is at the heart of the talks with the P5+1 that are due to resume June 18-19 in Moscow.

Ahmadinejad said that as much as Iran would like to see the nuclear dispute resolved, "we do not expect to see a miracle" in Moscow.

He complained that Western governments did not protest when Israel threatened Iran, adding: "We are not afraid of their threats. The Iranian people have shown they know how to deal with such situations."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Pinoy team wins global disaster preparedness competition

    The Philippines was one of the big winners at the 2015 Global Innovation Competition last week for a cloud-based information system for disaster. The project, called "Balangay," is the brainchild of cousins Frei Sangil and Paolo Sangil. …

  • How Asia uses Bitcoin in one color-coded map
    How Asia uses Bitcoin in one color-coded map

    Bitcoin is a global phenomenon, but not everyone around the world uses it in the same way. Here in Asia, the way a person from the Philippines uses bitcoin is probably very different from how it’s used in Thailand, and both are very different from the typical user in Taiwan. Despite bitcoin being hailed as …

  • Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash
    Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash

    Manny Pacquiao's face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero's "fight of the century" nears. Pacmania is sweeping the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. Of course, it's the fight of the century," Manila film producer Lucky Blanco told AFP. …

  • Manila 'cute little submissive' of US: China media
    Manila 'cute little submissive' of US: China media

    The Philippines is nothing more than the "cute little submissive" of the United States, a Chinese tabloid with close ties to the ruling Communist Party said on Tuesday, criticising Manila for military exercises with Washington. The English-language editorial came a day after the Philippines launched giant 10-day war games with the US and Australia, partly aimed as a warning shot to Beijing amid competing claims in the South China Sea, home to vital shipping routes. "Of all the countries …

  • Philippines seeks more military aid from US to counter China
    Philippines seeks more military aid from US to counter China

    The Philippines said Tuesday it would soon ask the United States for more military equipment and training to build its defences, as it faces Chinese "aggressiveness" in disputed waters. As hundreds of Filipino and American Marines simulated an amphibious assault to reclaim territory from invaders during annual war games, military chief General Gregorio Catapang told AFP he was drafting a "wish list" for US aid. Catapang said the Philippines would ask for "equipment and training", when Foreign …

  • Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats

    Filipino activists denounced China's coast guard on Tuesday for turning water cannon on Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters, near where hundreds of Filipino and American Marines landed on a beach in a mock assault.     The presidential palace in Manila said China's coast guard used water cannon on Monday to drive away a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of their wooden boats. Chinese ships rammed a fishing boat in the area a few months back. China in …

  • Ex-Cavite governor gets PCSO top post
    Ex-Cavite governor gets PCSO top post

    After nearly a year, President Aquino finally made good his promise to a long-time ally – former Cavite governor and congressman Erineo Maliksi – to head the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), replacing Margarita Juico who resigned in May 2014. Maliksi must be officially elected by the PCSO board members as their chairman. Prior to his appointment to the PCSO, Maliksi faced graft charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the alleged illegal purchase of P2.5 million worth …

  • US, Phl military exercises to focus on sea defense
    US, Phl military exercises to focus on sea defense

    A massive deployment of aircraft, personnel and warships characterizes this year’s Balikatan between the two allies, which war games were launched 30 years ago. Commander Lued Lincuna, Philippine Navy public affairs chief, said the Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4) will link  up with the US 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options