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Despite EU Effort, Iran's President Sticks to Nuclear Rights

DPA news agency (tt)August 3, 2008

While the world powers await Tehran's official response to their latest proposal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that there would be no Iranian retreat in the nuclear dispute.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Ahmadinejad wants Iran to be in charge of its nuclear programImage: AP

"In whatever meetings we take part and whatever issue we raise, the main aim is institutionalizing our nuclear rights," Fars news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as telling visiting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday, Aug. 2.

"The Iranian nation would not retreat one iota from its rights in this regard," the Iranian president reiterated.

Although Saturday was reported to be the deadline for Iran to reply to the latest proposal by the world powers, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that no deadline had been set regarding the ongoing dispute over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Still waiting

The European Union is however still awaiting Tehran's official response to an offer of new talks to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear activities, but an answer may be coming on Monday, EU diplomats said on Saturday.

Two weeks after the Geneva talks involving top officials from Iran, the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, it was being pointed out that no specific deadline had been set for Tehran to respond.

At the time, on July 19, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had said the EU was expecting a "clear answer" from Tehran "in about two weeks' time."

The offer on the table is for far-reaching economic cooperation with Iran, including in the field of civilian-sector nuclear power, in return for a pledge by Tehran to refrain from uranium enrichment activities.