Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton has said that Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of civilian nuclear power but renewed accusations that the Islamic republic was seeking atomic weapons.
"Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of civilian
nuclear power. They are not entitled to a nuclear weapons
programme," Clinton said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a UN Security Council
debate in United Nations, she said what they (Iran) are doing
is starting a reactor that is, based on everything we know
about it and everything that the Russians have informed us
about it since they have worked with the Iranians over many
years to build this reactor, strictly for peaceful purposes.
"Our problem is not with their reactor at Bushehr. Our
problem is with their facilities at places like Natanz and
their secret facility at Qom and other places where we believe
they are conducting their weapons programme," she said.
"I heard some of the news coverage that oh my
goodness, the Iranians are starting the reactor. That is not
the issue. They are entitled to peaceful civilian nuclear
power. They are not entitled to nuclear weapons. There`s two
different processes," Clinton told reporters.
"We are hoping that the Iranians will come back to
the table soon with the ? what we call the P-5+1 or the E-3+3,
headed by Cathy Ashton, to begin an in-depth negotiation over
their nuclear arms programme," she said.
"This reactor is monitored by the IAEA with
cooperation from Russia. We have monitoring in place on
something and we believe Iran has the right to produce
peaceful nuclear power," White House Press Secretary Robert
Gibbs told reporters at his daily news conference.
"That does not let it get out of its responsibilities
in international agreements and commitments to step away from
an illicit nuclear weapons programme. So I would definitely
divorce the two things," Gibbs said in response to a question.
The White House spokesman, however, refuted reports
that the sanctions on Iran are not working.
"I think if you look at articles over the past several
weeks, sanctions are having an impact on the economy of Iran,"
"The (US) President that travels around the world and
makes outlandish comments is, in stepping away from his
country`s obligations, making it harder for the people of
Iran. That`s the message I think that`s being delivered with
sanctions," Gibbs said.
Earlier, State Department spokesman P J Crowley said
that it believes that Busher nuclear reactor is for peaceful
purpose and does not pose a proliferation risk.
"We recognise that the Bushehr reactor is designed to
provide civilian nuclear power and we do not view it as a
proliferation risk because it is under IAEA safeguards and
because Russia is providing both the needed fuel and then
taking back the spent nuclear fuel, which would be the
principal source of our proliferation concerns," Crowley said.
"What is interesting about Bushehr is that Iran does
not need an indigenous enrichment capability to generate
civilian nuclear energy if its intentions are, you know,
purely peaceful. And Russia`s supply of fuel we think is a
model that Iran should follow in its ambition for civilian
nuclear energy," he said.
Crowley, however, said that this should not be
confused with the concerns about Iran`s violations of
international nuclear obligations, particularly in pursuit of
"You know, Iran says it wants to have full control of
fuel cycle to obtain self-sufficiency, but the fact is that
Iran does not have, you know, sufficient uranium reserves in
the country to meet its stated goal," Crowley said.
"So this is precisely the kind of international
cooperation that we think is appropriate for Iran and it
undercuts Iran`s rationale for why it needs to pursue its own
enrichment capability," Crowley said.