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Iran says no to uranium enrichment suspension
Latest Updated by 2006-08-21 14:15:36
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Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis
Iran has stood firm on its position of rejecting the suspension of uranium enrichment, just two days ahead of its formal response to the six-nation nuclear package, due on Tuesday.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Sunday that the country would not suspend uranium enrichment and would offer a multi-dimensional response to the six-nation package aimed at solving the Iranian nuclear issue.

"The issue of suspension ... is not on the agenda of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in his weekly press conference.

He also reiterated Iran's rejection to a UN Security Council resolution that demands suspension of its uranium enrichment by Aug. 31.

"The resolution has no legal validity and is unacceptable for the Islamic Republic," he said.

The Security Council adopted the resolution on July 31, urging Tehran to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" by Aug. 31 or face possible sanctions.

Asefi said Iran was in the final stages of reviewing the package.

"The package has various dimensions, so our response will also be multi-dimensional," he said.

Also on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed to Iran for a positive response to the package of incentives offered by six countries -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

"I appeal to the government of Iran to seize this historic opportunity. Iran's reply will, I trust, be positive and that this will be the foundation for a final, negotiated settlement," Annan said in a statement.

Annan said that progress on the Iranian nuclear issue was essential for regional and global stability.

"In a time of acute crisis in the Middle East, I believe that progress on the nuclear issue is essential for the stability not only of the region, but the international system itself," he said.

"It is time to take steps in the right direction. I am convinced that a way is now open for setting a milestone for international non-proliferation efforts," he said.

The incentive package includes promises that the United States and Europe will provide civilian nuclear technology and that Washington will join direct talks with Iran in exchange of Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment.

Iran has said that the package is an "acceptable basis" for a compromise. Asefi said part of the package was "convincing" but there were ambiguities that needed to be clarified through talks.

Earlier, Iran's state-run television reported that the military test-fired 10 surface-to-surface Saegheh missiles on Sunday, a day after large-scale military exercises began across the country.

The White House blasted Iran's move as "show of military force" and said it "serves to remind us of the dangers of its nuclear ambitions."

Iran insists that its nuclear program only has the peaceful aim of generating electricity.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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