Sunday, August 20, 2006
IRAN SAYS IT WON'T HALT ATOMIC WORK
Aug 20, 2006 — By Edmund Blair
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Sunday it would not suspend uranium enrichment, ruling out the main demand in a nuclear package backed by six world powers that aims to allay Western fears Tehran is seeking to build atomic bombs.
Tehran, which insists its nuclear aims are purely civilian, shows no sign of accepting the package.
"We are not going to suspend (enrichment). The issue was that everything should come out of negotiations, but suspension of uranium enrichment is not on our agenda," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference.
Analysts say Iran's defiance may be based on a calculation that divisions at the United Nations mean it will only face modest measures such as travel restrictions on officials or asset freezes. The world's fourth largest oil exporter, brimming with petrodollars, feels it can cope with such steps.
Permanent Security Council members United States, Britain and France back sanctions, but China and Russia, the two other members with veto powers, oppose such steps.
Posted by Jesus Reyes at 12:53 PM