Iran vows to defy new EU sanctions on its N-programme
Iran vowed on Tuesday to press ahead with its nuclear programme despite tough new EU sanctions.
Tehran: Iran vowed on Tuesday to press ahead with its nuclear programme even as it expressed readiness to resume talks about the controversial issue despite being slapped with tough new EU sanctions.
The European Union imposed fresh sanctions on Iran`s key energy sector on Monday in a bid to halt its sensitive enrichment of uranium as well as restart talks about its atomic programme.
Canada followed suit, and the United States, which has led international efforts to curb Iran`s nuclear drive, said the punitive steps would bite.
"Iran will resume nuclear talks with the West in September," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the Islamic republic`s English-language Press TV.
But he added "Iran wants Turkey and Brazil to participate in the negotiations," in the comments posted on the channel`s website from an interview late on Monday.
Brazil and Turkey refused to back sanctions against Tehran in June before the UN Security Council, where they are non-permanent members.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran "deeply regrets and condemns" the new EU sanctions.
"These sanctions will not help in resuming talks and will not affect Iran`s determination to defend its legitimate right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme," Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
The EU sanctions follow similar measures meted out by the United States by going beyond the fourth set of sanctions that the United Nations imposed on June 9 over Iran`s refusal to freeze uranium enrichment.
They are aimed at reviving stalled talks between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
Among their measures are a ban on the sale of equipment, technology and services to Iran`s energy sector, and steps to hit activities in refining, liquefied natural gas, exploration and production, EU diplomats said.
New investments in the energy sector were also banned.
Iran is the world`s fourth largest producer of crude oil, but imports 40 percent of its fuel needs because it lacks enough refining capabilities to meet domestic demand.
The country`s banking sector was also hit by restrictions, forcing any transactions of more than 40,000 euros (52,000 dollars) to be authorised by EU governments before they can go ahead.
Iran also has the world`s second-largest reserves of natural gas after Russia, but the development of its giant gas fields has been delayed due to a lack of investment in a country faced with severe gas needs of its own and because of difficulties in procuring the required technology.
Several top global energy majors have already quit Iran, or have been considering an exit since the fresh set of UN sanctions.
The last high-level meeting between Iran and the six world powers was held in Geneva in October 2009 when the two sides agreed a nuclear fuel swap deal that has since stalled.
Western powers have demanded Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme, fearing Tehran would use the material to build a nuclear bomb. Iran says its atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.