Iran: 'Obvious Rights' to Enrich Uranium Are Non-Negotiable
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that Iran would not negotiate over its "obvious rights" to enrich uranium.
Mohammad Ali Hosseini's comments came a day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to Natanz to celebrate the one year anniversary of Iran's announcement that it had enriched uranium for the first time.
Local Iranian media has speculated that Ahmadinejad will announce the successful installation and operation of 3,000 centrifuges in Natanz's underground enrichment facility, a goal he has been hinting at for months.
"We will not have any negotiation over obvious rights of the Iranian nation," said Hosseini during his weekly news briefing.
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He stressed that uranium enrichment was allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but said Iran was happy to discuss any doubts the West has about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.
Iran denies charges by the West it wants to make nuclear weapons, insisting its program is for peaceful purposes. The U.N. Security Council voted last month to impose new and tougher sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment.
Hosseini said the Security Council's decision to approve sanctions against Iran hampered the possibility of peaceful discussions.
"It is not feasible to issue a (U.N.) resolution on the one hand while urging negotiations on the other hand," he said.
During his briefing, Hosseini downplayed the possibility of a U.S. or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilitates, describing the threat "as only a psychological operation."
"Our forces are completely conscious, and they have planned necessary actions regarding deterrence and defense," he said.
The U.S. has two aircraft carrier groups off Iran's coast, its largest show of force in the region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.