President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday ruled out negotiations on Iran's "undeniable" nuclear rights, as world powers await Tehran's proposals for new talks on its controversial uranium enrichment programme.
"In our view the nuclear question is finished. We will not negotiate over Iran's undeniable rights," the hardliner told a Tehran news conference.
"What we have announced is cooperation in two parts: cooperation on peaceful use of clean atomic energy and preventing a proliferation of atomic weapons," Ahmadinejad said, AFP informs.
Iran insists its nuclear enrichment program is meant solely for peaceful energy production and scientific advancement. Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran had resolved all questions regarding the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. "We don't consider anything such as [an Iranian] nuclear dossier," he said. "There is the dossier of a few countries that are hostile to Iran."
But the U.S., Israel and international arms control experts strongly suspect that Iran is slowly creating the capacity to produce nuclear weapons. They point to a set of documents, derided as forgeries by Tehran, that purport to show that Iran engaged in experiments consistent with a clandestine nuclear weapons program until 2003.
The Obama administration has called for direct diplomatic talks with Iran as a way of resolving the nuclear issue, and asked that Tehran respond to its offer before the U.N. General Assembly convenes in New York this month, Los Angeles Times informs.
In a statement to the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency — which is taking a hard new look at Iran and Syria this week — Mohamed ElBaradei urged the Islamic Republic to "substantively re-engage" with the international community.
Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful. The United States and key allies contend it is covertly trying to build a bomb.
This week's meeting in Vienna, and the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, could set the stage for a toughening of sanctions against Iran for its continued defiance of Western demands that it suspend uranium enrichment. Tehran already has defied three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions, The Associated Press reports.