Monday, September 7, 2009

Ahmadinejad: Iran Will Not Negotiate Over Nuclear 'Rights'

"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday Iran will neither halt uranium enrichment nor negotiate over its nuclear rights but is ready to sit and talk with world powers over "global challenges."

His statements came as the international nuclear watchdog warned of a "stalemate" over Iran's nuclear program. Members of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency began meetings in Vienna that could set the stage for a toughening of sanctions against Iran.

Ahmadinejad also said Iran will present a package of proposals for talks to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany but rejected any deadline for such talks.

He said the package would "identify challenges facing humanity ... and resolve global concerns."

But he said that "from our point of view, Iran's nuclear issue is over. We continue our work within the framework of global regulations and in close interaction with the International Atomic Energy Agency." But "we will never negotiate over obvious rights of the Iranian nation," he said.

He said the only two aspects of the nuclear file he was willing to discuss were "creating peaceful nuclear energy for all countries" and a mechanism to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and encourage global nuclear disarmament.

President Barack Obama and European allies have given Iran until the end of September to take up an offer of nuclear talks with six world powers and trade incentives should it suspend uranium enrichment activities. If not, Iran could face harsher punitive sanctions.

The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity, not a bomb."

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