TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran told world powers on Monday they must stop working against its atomic drive and instead adopt a policy of interaction with the Islamic republic to resolve the nuclear crisis.
“It is the right time for the other parties to review their policy. Rather than countering Iran, they should interact with Iran,” foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters.
World powers and Israel are at loggerheads with Iran over its nuclear programme which they suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons, a charge consistently denied by Tehran.
Ghashghavi also dismissed threats of additional sanctions on Iran if it fails to abide by international demands to halt uranium enrichment, a process which makes fuel for nuclear plants but can also be diverted to make the core of an atomic bomb.
“Past experience has shown that sanctions are futile. Sanctions will not prevent us from pursuing our legal rights,” he said.
US President Barack Obama has given Iran until September to take up an offer by world powers of talks if it freezes uranium enrichment, or face harsher sanctions.
Iran has long insisted that it has a right to nuclear technology as it is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Ghashghavi’s remarks come just days after reports that Iran has allowed inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to check on the nuclear reactor at Arak for the first time in a year.
Arak, with its nearly completed 40-megawatt heavy water reactor, is one of most sensitive nuclear sites in Iran, as it could produce plutonium, which Tehran says would be for medical research.
IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei has persistently called for his agency’s inspectors to be allowed back into Iran to continue their checks.
ElBaradei will publish his latest report on Iran next week and it will go before the agency’s governors in September.
Israel has accused the IAEA of holding back incriminating evidence of what it says is Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons, according to an Israeli newspaper.