On Tuesday, Manouchehr Mottaki, Iranian Foreign Minister, said that if the Iranian nuclear program issue is withdrawn from the UN Security Council, Iran will offer "necessary" guarantees on its nuclear program. In a speech to the international Conference on Disarmament, he said that Iran was prepared to make efforts to build confidence if the Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany returned the issue to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). However, Mottaki has still not specified what guarantees Iran is prepared to give.

Earlier on Tuesday, an Iranian government spokesman reiterated that Iran had no intention of suspending uranium enrichment, the key demand of the Security Council.
According to Britain's UN ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, on Monday, substantial progress was made by the 'five plus one' group towards finalizing the new draft resolution that would tighten sanctions against Iran.
According to Agence France Presse, Mottaki reiterated that diplomatic pressure would make little difference, stating that Iran had rights as well as obligations, along with all other non-signers of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to pursue the development of nuclear energy.

Western powers fear that uranium enrichment will be diverted from civilian use to make nuclear weapons. Iran, however, insists that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and accuses the United States of being "in clear contravention with the provisions of the NPT" with its development of nuclear weapons.
Additionally, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported that according to Gholam-Hossein Elham, government spokesman, suspension of enrichment was no longer an issue. While Iran would not welcome a new sanctions resolution, it would not be concerned about one either. He stated, "To us, sanctions are not new literature because they have been imposed on Iran way back since the victory of the Islamic Revolution (in 1979). The Islamic Republic of Iran is not concerned about possible sanctions."

© 2007 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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