Iranian Parliament rejects talks on enrichment suspension

The Western powers insist Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities.

Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 15:53 PM IST

Tehran: Iran`s Parliament said the government should not enter any nuclear negotiations whose agenda would be suspension of Tehran`s uranium enrichment, official news agency IRNA said on Sunday.

The deputy head of the Parliament`s national security commission said the West should not think that sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council would force Iran to relinquish its rights.

Mohammad-Esmail Kowsari said that instead of focusing on Iran`s legitimate right to pursue peaceful nuclear projects, the parties should prove their commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and explore ways to enable global nuclear disarmament.

The office of European Union`s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has proposed nuclear talks be resumed November 15-17 in Vienna, with the US, Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, known as the 5+1 group.

Iran welcomed the initiative, but chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said the agenda would need to be clarified first.

Analysts say that there are differences, with Tehran preferring to discuss global issues such as disarmament, the Israeli nuclear arsenal, the Middle East and global financial crisis.

The Western powers insist that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities. Tehran terms this as unacceptable.

Parliament member Vali Esmaeili said Iran should not allow world powers to impose any preconditions for the talks.

"The West should get aware that Iran will never give up its nuclear rights and suspension of uranium enrichment," he said.

Iran`s Atomic Energy Organisation chief, Ali-Akbar Salehi, proposed a uranium-swap deal as a basis for talks with the 5+1 group, to compromise on demands from both sides.

The swap deal - storing Iranian low-enriched uranium in Turkey and exchanging it with nuclear fuel from Russia and France for a medical reactor in Tehran - was raised in the last negotiations a year ago in Geneva.

IANS