Gulf & Middle East
Iran offers West 'constructive talks' in nuclear dispute
Apr 19, 2007 - 4:11:50 PM

Tehran, April 19 - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki once again offered the West constructive talks in the nuclear dispute but reiterated the country's nuclear programmes would not be stopped, state news agency IRNA reported Thursday.

'The Western countries have realized that Iran would not withdraw from its right to pursue peaceful nuclear technology - even threats of forcing us to withdraw were neutralized by national resistance and active diplomacy,' Mottaki said during his visit to Caracas.

'Several - officials have already realized that Iran will not suspend the uranium enrichment process and we therefore hope that they now return to the negotiation table for serious and constructive talks,' the minister added.

The remarks by Mottaki came after the IAEA has reportedly disclosed that Iran has installed 1,312 centrifuges within eight cascades of 164 each in its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, central Iran.

This is however less than half of the 3,000 centrifuges Iran intended to install in Natanz by March 2007.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had proclaimed last week that Iran has reached the level of uranium enrichment on an industrial scale but he and all other Iranian nuclear officials refrained from giving the exact number of centrifuges.

It is also still unclear how many of the more than 1,300 installed centrifuges are fed with uranium hexafluoride gas - for the full enrichment of the converted uranium from neighbouring Isfahan plant.

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