'No reason' to cede on 20% enriched uranium: Iran

Tehran has "no reason" to suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, one of the key demands of world powers engaging Iran in talks, the head of its Atomic Energy Organisation said.

"We have no reason to cede on 20 percent, because we produce only as much of the 20 percent fuel as we need. No more, no less," Fereydoon Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying late Saturday by the ISNA and Mehr news agencies.

The issue of Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, and its stockpile of that uranium, were at the centre of talks on Wednesday and Thursday in Baghdad between Iran and six world powers (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany).

Those talks neared collapse when the powers, known as the P5+1, demanded Iran give up that activity and its stockpile in exchange for some inducements such as aircraft parts for its dilapidated commercial fleet and technical assistance in nuclear energy.

Iran, which is suffering under Western sanctions, said the inducements were far too little and countered with a demand that the P5+1 declare that it has a right to enrich uranium.

With that impasse, which Abbasi Davani termed "predictable," the talks teetered on failure and were saved only by last-minute wrangling that agreed to give negotiations another shot in Moscow on June 18-19.

Abbasi Davani was quoted as saying that Iran had now joined the small group of countries "that can produce fuel for others."

He added: "It is better that others engage us about providing (them) with fuel, not that they (the West) demand we shut down our fuel production."

According to the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has produced 145.6 kilogrammes of 20-percent enriched uranium, of which nearly a third has been converted into fuel for its research reactor.

Iran has also produced more than six tonnes of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, part of which was processed further to make the 20-percent stock.

Uranium enriched to 90 percent or above is used for military ends, to make nuclear warheads. Twenty-percent uranium is considered just a few steps short of that level.

The IAEA has voiced suspicions that Iran might be working towards nuclear weapons research. It says its inspectors have not been given sufficient access to verify or invalidate that suspicion, although it expressed optimism that an agreement should be signed soon with Tehran permitting that.

Iran, for its part, insists its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful. It has railed against Western sanctions hitting its vital oil and financial sectors that aim to force it to curb its activities as unfair and illegal, although it claims they are ineffective.

Those sanctions are set to tighten further on July 1, when an EU embargo on Iranian oil comes fully into effect. By then, US sanctions targeting Iran's central bank will also be fully implemented.

A diplomat on the P5+1 negotiating side told AFP that the Iranians were already obviously hurting under the Western sanctions, "but are too proud to say anything explicit."

The diplomat added that Iran's threat to walk away from the talks in Baghdad appeared to have been an attempt to "panic concessions out of us" but it did not work, and the P5+1 closed ranks.

With the talks moving to Moscow next month, the diplomat said, the onus would be on Russia -- which has supported Iran within the P5+1 -- to move them forward.

"The Russians will feel the need to deliver something positive and will have to sit on Iran," the diplomat said.

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.

  • Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low
    Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    Philippine economic growth in the first quarter slowed to a three-year low of 5.2 percent, well below forecasts, due to lethargic government spending and weak exports, officials said Thursday. "While growth in the private sector remains robust, the slower than programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction, has slowed down the overall growth of the economy," Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters. "Exports were the other source of the …

  • EM ASIA FX-Won near 2-month low on plunging yen, peso pares gains as growth weakens

    * S.Korea intervention spotted, won hits 7-year high vs yen * Philippine peso briefly weaker after Q1 growth disappoints (Adds text, updates prices) By Jongwoo Cheon SEOUL, May 28 (Reuters) - South Korea's ... …

  • Britain's tied visa rules fuel abuse of live-in maids, nannies

    By Katie Nguyen LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Susi, a single mother from the Philippines, left for a job in Qatar, she convinced herself it was a sacrifice worth making for her children at home. For more than a year, Susi's sacrifice involved waking before dawn and working past midnight, cooking, cleaning and looking after a Qatari family. Conditions deteriorated when Susi was brought to Britain by her boss. …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Philippines at four-month low after Q1 GDP miss

    BANGKOK, May 28 (Reuters) - Philippine shares hit a more than four-month low on Thursday after economic growth in the first quarter was slower than expected, while Thai stocks retreated after disappointing ... …

  • Philippine economic growth slows to 5.2 percent in 1Q

    Sluggish government spending slowed Philippine economic growth in the first quarter of this year, officials said Thursday. The country's gross domestic product grew by 5.2 percent in the first quarter, ... …

  • PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices
    PSE to sell Makati and Ortigas offices

    Set to move to a unified headquarters in Bonifacio Global City in 2016, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has issued plans to sell their offices in Makati and Ortigas. PSE President Hans Sicat issued that PSE means to sell the offices, but that they may also opt to rent them out instead. …

  • ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’
    ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’

    While strong earthquakes cause tsunamis in coastal areas, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that inland areas could also be exposed to tsunami-like waves, or seiche, if located near or around bodies of water. In a recent earthquake awareness seminar in Muntinlupa, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Joan Salcedo explained that a seiche is a large wave similar to a tsunami, triggered by strong ground shaking from an earthquake or volcanic …

  • China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations
    China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations

    China gave the Philippines a “gentle reminder” last Tuesday that Beijing will not bully small countries but warned these nations not to make trouble willfully and endlessly. “Here is a gentle reminder to the Philippines: China will not bully small countries, meanwhile, small countries shall not make trouble willfully and endlessly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that China would continue to build other civilian facilities on relevant maritime features in the disputed Spratly Islands …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options