Iran stresses its nuclear "rights" in letter to EU

Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:17am EDT
 
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By Fredrik Dahl

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has told the EU's foreign policy chief it is ready to hold fresh nuclear talks, but won't back down on its "rights" in its nuclear row with the West.

The letter from Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, dated September 6 and obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, seemed unlikely to be welcomed by Western powers as signaling a substantive step forward.

Talks could resume "as soon as you are ready," the letter, in English, said. "The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that a just negotiation and talk is the only way to remove existing misunderstandings in all areas."

Jalili spoke of the "necessity of achieving a comprehensive, long-term and negotiated solution for both sides."

But he also said any "measures that would lead to the deprivation" of the rights of states, "including the noble nation of Iran, is unacceptable."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran as an active party to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) has always been and is still of the firm belief in the necessity of realization of the legal rights as well as obligations without any kinds of discrimination."

When using such language, Iran usually refers among other things to what it sees as its right to enrich uranium, activity it says is aimed at fuelling nuclear power plants but which the West suspects is part of a covert drive to develop atomic arms.

Jalili's letter said Iran would be ready to cooperate with other countries in disarmament and non-proliferation. It made no mention of repeated requests by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that Iran address concerns it may be working on a nuclear-armed missile, a charge Tehran has said is based on forged evidence.   Continued...