Iran’s Rowhani: we won’t give up one iota of our nuclear rights
TEHRAN - Iran "will not give up one iota" of its nuclear rights, Iranian President Hassan Rowhani said on Tuesday in a speech to clerics, Mehr news agency reported.
"Our government will not give up one iota of its absolute rights" on the nuclear issue, Rowhani said.
His comments dealt a blow to his conciliatory-sounding noises since his election as president in June.
They also come ahead of a meeting in New York later in the month between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on restarting negotiations over Iran's contested nuclear programme.
Meanwhile, The International Atomic Energy Agency "remains committed to working constructively with Iran, under the country's new government, to resolve outstanding issues by diplomatic means," Yukiya Amano told a meeting of the IAEA's board of governors.
He added however: "Given the nature and extent of credible information available to the agency about possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme, it remains essential and urgent for Iran to engage with us on the substance of these concerns."
He reiterated the IAEA's long-standing statement that since Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation it "cannot conclude" that all its nuclear work is peaceful, according to the text of his remarks.
It is because of this that the UN Security Council has passed six resolutions since 2006 -- four with sanctions attached -- calling for Tehran to suspend key parts of its nuclear work.
Denying it wants nuclear weapons, Iran has instead defiantly continued to expand its programme, most notably in the enrichment of uranium, which in highly purified form could be used in a bomb.
The United States and Israel, the Middle East's sole if undeclared country with nuclear weapons, have refused to rule out military means to stop Tehran's nuclear drive.
Numerous diplomatic initiatives over the past decade to find a peaceful solution have failed, and all the while Iran has moved closer -- in theory -- to being able to have atomic weapons.