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Iran reserves right to industrial uranium enrichment - official


MOSCOW, January 24 (RIA Novosti) - Iran reserves the right to develop the industrial enrichment of uranium if political pressure is applied to the country, the republic's top negotiator said Tuesday.

Ali Larijani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said that if the country's nuclear file were referred to the UN Security Council, then all its nuclear moratoria would be ended.

"The sphere of our activity is not limited to nuclear research," he said. "We will begin the industrial enrichment of nuclear fuel."

Larijani also said political pressure being exerted on the UN's nuclear watchdog, the international Atomic Energy Agency, was counterproductive and would not contribute to peace and security in the region.

Some countries, led by the United States, suspect Tehran of pursuing a secret weapons program and have been pushing the referral of the Iranian "nuclear file" to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic if it is found to have been in breach of its international commitments. Iran has consistently stated that it only wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Russia, which is building an $800-million power plant in Iran, has defended the country's right to nuclear energy, but expressed its "disappointment" with Tehran's recent decision earlier in January to end a two-year moratorium on nuclear research and resume activity at its nuclear facilities. In a move seen as compromise to diffuse tensions around the situation, Moscow has offered to conduct uranium enrichment for Iran on Russian territory, a proposal which Larijani welcomed today.

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