TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran”s new nuclear policy chief, the hardliner Ali Larijani, said Tehran will press on with ultra-sensitive fuel cyle work while continuing talks with the European Union.
Larijani signaled in his first interview since being named Monday as Supreme National Security Council head, taking over from pragmatist Hassan Rowhani, that Iran would not roll back its August 8 resumption of uranium conversion.
"Iran does not accept the resolution" which the International Atomic Energy Organisation (IAEA) passed last week urging Tehran to suspend all such activities, he told the Shargh newspaper.
The Europeans "must understand that the Iranian government is determined to preserve the nuclear fuel production cycle", he said.
"We insist on Natanz," the site of Iran”s uranium enrichment factory, "but this must go through the channel of negotiations," said Larijani.
He acknowledged it was "theoretically possible" that the Islamic republic could be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions over its controversial nuclear activities.
Iran is at loggerheads with the international community over its nuclear programme after resuming the uranium conversion activities, ending a nine-month freeze agreed on during talks with the Europeans.
Accused by the United States of seeking nuclear weapons, Tehran insists it has the right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Before his appointment, Larijiani is on the record as a staunch critic of the troubled talks with the EU on providing reassurances that Iran”s nuclear programme is exclusively civilian in return for a package of incentives.