Iran: Legal nuclear program to continue
From CNN's Mable Chan
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Insisting that Iran's nuclear technology is strictly for generating power, the country's foreign minister has said that Iran will not abandon the program.
"No, by no means, because this is right, it is legal, this is based on our commitment to the NPT," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Wednesday, referring to the Non-Proliferation Treaty under the auspices of the United Nations.
Kharrazi also reiterated that Tehran has no intention of developing an atomic bomb, saying it lacks the technology to do so.
"We do not have the technology to develop nuclear weapons. We have the technology to enrich uranium," he said in a speech to the Business Council for the United Nations Development Programme and the Eurasia Group at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York.
"This is a big difference -- between having the technology to enrich uranium needed for power plants as fuel and the technology to actually make a bomb."
Iran is facing an October 31 deadline to answer all questions by the International Atomic Energy Agency about its uranium enrichment program.
Earlier this week, Iran said it will continue talks with IAEA on signing additional protocols to the Non-Proliferation Treaty that would subject the nuclear program to in-depth checks.
Iran has said repeatedly it would agree to unfettered inspections under the additional protocols if it is granted access to advanced nuclear technology as provided for under the treaty.
Tehran says Washington is keeping Iran from getting that technology.
The United States has accused Iran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons program and wants the IAEA to declare Tehran in violation of the NPT.
A recent IAEA report to its board noted that traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium were found at an Iranian nuclear facility, and said tests run by Iran make little sense unless the country is pursuing nuclear weaponry.
Kharrazi said his country is cooperating with the IAEA.
"It's true that we have installations to enrich uranium but as long as it is under the safeguards of the IAEA and under the severe control regime of IAEA, provided that we signed additional protocols, there should be no concerns," he said.
"But in spite of that, the Americans say you have to accept additional protocols, at the same time you have to stop your enrichment facility, and that's not acceptable."
"We have been working very hard to respond to the questions of the IAEA," Kharrazi said.
"It is not part of our security doctrine to have nuclear weapon because we do not believe it will bring security to Iran but would cause much more insecurity. We believe the whole region should be free from nuclear weapons."