Iran slowing enrichment; Ahmadinejad says ready to talk


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

IAEA: Iran slowing enrichment; Ahmadinejad says ready to talk

By The Associated Press

A report by the U.N. nuclear agency made available to The Associated Press on 
Thursday shows Iran has slowed nuclear enrichment work over the past month but 
continues experiments with the technology that world powers fear might be 
misused to make nuclear arms.

The confidential report, which was circulated among the International Atomic 
Energy Agency's 35 member nations, also indicated that nuclear inspectors have 
made little progress on clearing up other worrying aspects of Tehran's past 
nuclear activity.

Earlier Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his country is
ready to discuss "mutual concerns" over its controversial nuclear program but 
claimed that Iran will never give up its right to uranium enrichment.

Ahmadinejad did not say whether Iran will accept a Western package of incentives
aimed at enticing it to suspend enrichment while negotiations are in progress.

"On behalf of the Iranian nation, I'm announcing that the nation will never hold
negotiations about its definite rights with anybody but we are for talks about 
mutual concerns to resolve misunderstandings in the international arena," 
Ahmadinejad told thousands of people in Qazvin, west of the capital of Tehran.

Ahmadinejad did not specify whether Iran will accept the package, presented 

Iran's initial reaction to the package was receptive, with Iran's top nuclear 
negotiator Ali Larijani saying the proposals included "positive steps" but 
"ambiguities that need to be cleared up."

Ahmadinejad did not specifically comment on the incentives. Tehran has said that
it will only announce its position after carefully studying the package.

"International monopolists [the U.S. and its allies] have been defeated in the 
face of your resistance and solidarity and have been forced to acknowledge your 
dignity and greatness," Ahmadinejad told the crowd.

The U.S. and its European allies had previously insisted that Iran permanently 
give up its uranium enrichment program to calm fears that it may use its nuclear
program to build a nuclear bomb. The new proposal only requires the temporary 
suspension of enrichment while talks are underway.

Ahmadinejad insisted Thursday that Iran will never give up its legitimate rights
under NPT to produce nuclear fuel.

"[Our] enemies must know that whether the Iranian nation is going to hold

talks or not, whether you frown [at us] or not ... the Iranian nation will not 
retreat from the path of progress and obtaining advanced technology one iota," 
he said in a speech broadcast live on state-run television.

Despite his tough talk, there was no indication that Ahmadinejad was

dismissing the incentive package. Instead, he said dialogue should be fair and 
free from threats.

"That some would think to hold talks about our independence, sovereignty

rights and our fate, they should know they are gravely mistaken," he said.

"Negotiations should be held in a fair atmosphere and on the basis of

equality," he added. "If they [the U.S. and its allies] think they can threaten 
and hold a stick over Iran's head and offer negotiations at the same time, they 
should know the Iranian nation will definitely reject such an atmosphere. Such 
an atmosphere won't create a minimum opportunity for talks."

The United States and other Western nations suspect Iran's nuclear program is 
intended to produce weapons, while Tehran insists it is only for generating 

In a major policy shift, the United States agreed last week to join France, 
Britain and Germany in talks with Iran, provided Tehran suspends all suspect 
nuclear activities. It would be the first major public negotiations between 
Washington and Tehran since Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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