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.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options