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Iran wants recognition as nuclear nation

'Iran will not give up rights to the peaceful use of atomic energy'


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(CNN) -- Iran has rejected any further restrictions on its nuclear program and demanded that it be recognized as a nuclear nation with the right to pursue "the peaceful use of atomic energy."

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi accused France, Britain and Germany -- who have drawn up a tough new document that accuses Iran of not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency -- of bowing to pressure from the United States.

"Iran has to be taken seriously," Kharrazi said. "Iran is powerful and has to be recognized as a responsible member of the atomic club, this is inevitable. Iran will not give up its rights to the peaceful use of atomic energy as well as its right to supply nuclear fuel to its power plants."

The 35-nation board of governors of the nuclear watchdog group IAEA is to meet Monday in Vienna, Austria, and the British-German-French document will be on the agenda. The document asks Iran to stop uranium conversion at a facility near Isfahan and to reverse a decision to build a heavy-water reactor near Arak.

"If Europe, under pressure from the U.S., wants to concentrate on minor issues at the meeting of the International Atomic Agency on Monday and tries to obstruct the existing cooperation between Iran and the agency (IAEA), it will just show they are not able to operate independently," Kharrazi said.

Earlier this month, a classified IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program said "good progress" is being made toward reaching a conclusion about Iran's nuclear program. It compliments Tehran for its cooperation, but also notes that Iranian officials have sometimes not been forthcoming with information and other times sought to delay inspections.

The 21-page report also cast doubt on the Islamic republic's explanation for how centrifuge parts became contaminated with highly enriched uranium.

Iranian officials had said the contamination was from imported parts from Pakistan, but the report by the IAEA says that is "unlikely."

"The information provided to date by Iran has not been adequate to resolve the complex matter, and Iran should make every effort to provide any additional information about the origin of the components," said the report, which was obtained by CNN.

The inspectors found that the enrichment level on the centrifuge parts was at 36 percent, which indicates Iran either has been importing nuclear material or has been enriching uranium itself, both of which Tehran has denied, said a Western diplomat close to the IAEA.

The enrichment level found on the Iranian centrifuge parts is typically found at Russian nuclear reactors.

Enriched uranium is a key component in making a nuclear bomb.

The report, titled "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran" was compiled for the June 14 meeting of the IAEA board of governors.

Washington has accused Tehran of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program, but Iran has rejected those allegations, saying its nuclear program is only for generating electricity.


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