IRAN declared yesterday that it would not abandon uranium enrichment, rejecting a key demand by Britain, France and Germany, which have threatened to intensify pressure if Tehran does not curb its nuclear programme.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said that Iran already had the technology required for its nuclear fuel cycle and would not reverse the situation.
But he repeated that Iran was willing to provide guarantees that it was not seeking to build nuclear weapons.
Yesterday's announcement could lead the International Atomic Energy Agency's governing board to recommend that Iran's nuclear file be sent to the UN security council, which has the power to impose sanctions on Tehran. The agency is due to discuss Iran in a meeting today.
According to a document made available to journalists on Saturday, Britain, France and Germany have set a November deadline for Iran to meet conditions intended to dispel concerns that it is secretly trying to make nuclear weapons.
Among the conditions are that Iran "fully enact what has been a partial and eroding commitment to stop uranium enrichment and related activities."
The document is a draft resolution that the European powers are expected to present to today's IAEA board meeting.
It proposes a so-called "trigger mechanism," warning of possible "further steps" if Iran does not comply.
Diplomats say that the warning is shorthand for referral of Iran's case to the UN security council.
The document brings the three European countries closer to the US position on the issue.
US Undersecretary of State John Bolton warned yesterday that Washington would seek sanctions against Iran if Tehran did not renounce its alleged quest for nuclear weapons.
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The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around