Hillary asks Iran to suspend uranium enrichment

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked Tehran to immediately suspend uranium enrichment.

Washington: Condemning Iran`s move to begin
uranium enrichment operations at its Qom facility in violation
of its international obligation, US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton has asked Tehran to immediately suspend it.

"We call upon Iran to immediately cease uranium
enrichment and to comply with its international nuclear
obligations," Hillary said in a statement.

She said the US condemns the Iranian government`s
decision to begin enrichment operations at its Qom facility,
an act contrary to its obligations under multiple United
Nations Security Council and International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors resolutions.

"This step once again demonstrates the Iranian regime`s
blatant disregard for its responsibilities and that the
country`s growing isolation is self-inflicted," Hillary said
in a statement and noted that the circumstances surrounding
this latest action are especially troubling.

Iran only declared the Qom facility to the IAEA after it
was discovered by the international community following three
years of covert construction, she said.

Iran has announced it intends to consolidate and increase
its production of uranium enriched to a near 20 per cent level
at this facility, she added.

"There is no plausible justification for this production.
Such enrichment brings Iran a significant step closer to
having the capability to produce weapons-grade highly enriched
uranium," Hillary said.

Referring to the Iranian claim that this decision was
necessary to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor
(TRR), Hillary said this is false.

"The P5+1 has offered alternatives for providing fuel for
the TRR despite Iran`s longstanding refusal to fulfill its
international nuclear obligations. Iran has refused these
offers," she said.

Hillary also called on Iran to return to negotiations
with the P5+1, prepared to engage seriously on its nuclear
program, and urge Iran to reply to this effect to High
Representative Ashton`s letter from October 2011.

"We reaffirm that our overall goal remains a
comprehensive, negotiated solution that restores confidence in
the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran`s nuclear programme
while respecting Iran`s right to the peaceful use of nuclear
energy consistent with its obligations under the
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Hillary said.