Iran's enrichment of uranium to 20 per cent "is our right" and "is not a step towards a bomb," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today in an interview with a satellite television network.
The enrichment activity, which world powers are trying to curb in fraught talks with Iran, "is one of our rights in terms of international law," Ahmadinejad said.
"There have been lies about our programme.... Enriching uranium to 20 percent is not a step towards a bomb," he said, speaking in Farsi through translators in the satellite television network France 24 interview.
Ahmadinejad added that world powers "should provide us with uranium at a 20 per cent enrichment level, but so far they have not done so."
As a result, he said, Iran "decided to move forward on our own" with enrichment.
His remarks on Iran being supplied with 20 percent enriched uranium as translated into English for the channel offered a different formulation.
Ahmadinejad hinted, however, that Iran could be open to stopping 20 per cent enrichment -- if world powers offered significant concessions.
"If others do not wish for us to fully benefit from this right, they need to explain to us why. And also they have to say what they are willing to give to the Iranian people in exchange."
The UN Security Council has issued six resolutions demanding Iran suspend all uranium enrichment. It has also imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran on the issue. Western powers have hardened those measures with their own tough economic sanctions.
The five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany -- the so-called P5+1 group -- are especially intent on getting Iran to stop enrichment to 20 percent as it is just a few technical steps short of bomb-grade 90-per cent.
Uranium Enrichment 'Not a Step Towards a Bomb': Iran
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