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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 December 2007, 19:16 GMT
Iran rejects EU 'disappointment'
Saeed Jalili in Tehran (1 December 2007)
Mr Jalili said Tehran expected a "positive report" from the EU
Iran has defended its right to develop nuclear power following the failure of the latest talks to break the deadlock over its nuclear enrichment programme.

Chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said Iran was not to blame after the EU envoy, Javier Solana, said the London talks had been disappointing.

The five permanent UN Security Council members, along with Germany, met in Paris to discuss the issue.

They said they would begin work on a new UN resolution on tougher sanctions.

Western powers suspect Iran of enriching uranium to build a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

'Natural rights'

Speaking at Tehran airport on his return from the UK, Mr Jalili said he expected Mr Solana to present a "positive report" to the UN about Iran's nuclear programme despite the EU foreign policy chief's comments on Friday.

Mr Jalili said it was unacceptable to expect Iran to abandon its enrichment activities, as these were allowed under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The fact is that we defended the Iranian nation's rights and stressed fulfilling our duties and that the Iranian nation will not accept anything that goes beyond the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Saeed Jalili
Iranian nuclear negotiator

"The fact is that we defended the Iranian nation's rights and stressed fulfilling our duties and that the Iranian nation will not accept anything that goes beyond the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.

"If some people have become disappointed because they cannot deprive Iran of its natural rights then this is another matter."

Mr Jalili said Iran had proposed three "good ideas" to Mr Solana to help resolve the nuclear dispute and was now awaiting a response.

He said the proposals included "joint co-operation on disarmament", the "peaceful use of nuclear energy" and the "prevention of the expansion of nuclear defence proliferation".

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran says the proposals indicate that Iran is hardening its position, as they sound like a repeat of its call for the West and Israel to disarm as a condition for Iranian co-operation - not something likely to be well-received in London or Washington.

Crucial discussions

Mr Jalili would not comment on the threat of new UN sanctions, but senior foreign ministry officials from the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany are due to meet shortly in Paris to consider their next move.

The BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, says the US and its allies are expected to press for further sanctions, but Russia and China have so far resisted this, and their latest views will be crucial to the discussions.

Bushehr nuclear reactor
Iran says its programme is for purely peaceful purposes

The meeting will provide an opportunity to see how their positions may have evolved, our correspondent says.

Officials have said another option might be the imposition of serious economic sanctions by the EU if an agreement at the UN proves impossible.

The UN first imposed sanctions in December 2006, when it ordered all member states not to supply Iran with any materials or technology that could be used in nuclear enrichment activities or in the development of nuclear weapons.

In March, the UN sought to tighten the squeeze on Iran's nuclear and missile programmes by preventing dealings with the state Bank Sepah and 28 named people and organisations, many connected to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps.

Our correspondent says a moment of truth is fast approaching. Many countries have said they do not like Iran's nuclear activities, but so far, he says, they have taken only limited collective steps to register their displeasure.

Some commentators still believe that tough economic action could concentrate minds in Tehran, and without a serious effort on the economic front they fear that those voices in Washington pushing for military action against Iran's nuclear installations may begin to gain the upper hand, he adds.

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