Image: File Photograph Of Russian-built Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant In Southern Iran
Washington fears that the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power reactor in southwestern Iran, seen here, is part of a program to build nuclear weapons.
The Associated Press
updated 10/6/2003 11:49:43 PM ET 2003-10-07T03:49:43

Iran will not suspend uranium enrichment despite intense pressure from nations worried it is seeking nuclear arms, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency on Tuesday. A suspension of uranium enrichment is one of the demands of an Oct. 31 deadline set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that is calling on the Islamic Republic to prove it is not seeking a nuclear warhead.

InsertArt(2034438)“WE WILL NOT allow anyone to deprive us of our legitimate right to use nuclear technology, particularly enrichment for providing fuel for nuclear plants,” Kharrazi told a conference of prayer leaders late on Monday.

Enriched uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power stations but if enriched further can be used in atomic weapons.

A speech from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the same conference also lambasted pressure on Iran’s nuclear program and exhorted people to resist the country’s enemies.

“The international power centers, by continuing their plots, have aimed to impede this country’s progress,” he was quoted as saying in the hard-line Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper.

“All people...should stand up against the enemy’s demands,” he added.

However, Kharrazi said Iran had no plans to quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a course espoused by hard-liners.

“Iran is one of the proponents of the NPT and is determined to remain one of its signatories,” he told the conference.

Kharrazi reiterated the Islamic Republic’s stance that the development of nuclear weapons would contravene its religious values.

He also repeated Iran’s assertion that it was committed to a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, where the biggest threat to security was Israel’s possession of The Bomb.

Elsewhere in Tehran, Iran’s representative to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted by Jomhuri-ye Eslami as saying Iran was getting a rough deal from the NPT.

“The NPT is a discriminatory treaty. We never consider withdrawing from it but if the West keeps up its pressure without reason...staying in this treaty has no meaning,” he told a meeting at one of Tehran’s universities.

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