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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 February, 2004, 13:05 GMT
Iran 'ready to sell nuclear fuel'
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi
Kharrazi said the programme was a matter of national pride
Iran has announced that it is ready to sell nuclear fuel abroad.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi made the announcement on Saturday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said.

The US suspects that Iran is using a civilian nuclear programme as a cover for developing nuclear weapons - a charge that Tehran has often denied.

Mr Kharrazi said Iran would not give up its nuclear programme, which he called a matter of "national pride".

"The Iranian people are not ready to compromise on their national interests," IRNA quoted him as saying.

"No government can relinquish an issue that has gained it national pride, but we are ready to co-operate internationally," he added.

Inspections

Iran agreed late last year to a tough inspections regime overseen by the IAEA, the United Nations atomic watchdog.

Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, countries are allowed to enrich uranium, but must notify the International Atomic Energy Agency they are doing so.

Iran promised the IAEA in October that it would suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Saturday's announcement may suggest that it has not done so.

The declaration comes only days after US President George W Bush said the world needed tighter restrictions to prevent the spread of nuclear know-how.

Washington said it would give Iran more time to fully disclose its nuclear activities before deciding whether to refer the issue to the United Nations Security Council.


SEE ALSO:
Iran signs up to nuclear checks
18 Dec 03  |  Middle East
Iranians still enriching uranium
26 Oct 03  |  Middle East
Q&A: Iran's nuclear programme
18 Dec 03  |  Middle East


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