Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said yesterday that a Russian proposal over its uranium enrichment program was insufficient to meet Iran's needs but not negative.
"The Russian proposal fails to meet our nuclear energy needs, but we cannot say it is a negative one, so we are considering further negotiations with the Russians," Larijani was quoted by the official IRNA News Agency as saying.
Larijani made the comments upon his arrival in Tehran back from China after a two-day visit, during which he held talks with Chinese officials on the latest developments of the Iranian nuclear issue and reiterated that Iran was still engaged in diplomatic efforts to solve the issue.
"We think Larijani has showed some degree of flexibility during his stay in Beijing, and he has voiced the Islamic Republic's readiness to seek a solution acceptable to all concerned parties through negotiations," a diplomatic source told Xinhua.
Previously, Larijani made a diplomatic trip to Russia on Tuesday and Wednesday, which Iran defined as "a usual exchange of visits" but was widely viewed as aimed at seeking Moscow's support on the nuclear issue.
Iran is currently under mounting pressure of the EU to halt its nuclear fuel research work which it resumed on January 10 after a two-and-half-a-year suspension.
The EU is also pressing Tehran on the Russian proposal, which Moscow revealed in December 2005 and suggested a joint venture in Russia to enrich uranium for Iran.
Iran, terming the Russian proposal as inadequate, has said it welcomes Russia to participate in its enrichment program but will never accept uranium enrichment outside its own territory.
Based on the US' accusation that Iran is developing nuclear weapons secretly, the EU insists that Iran's full mastery of uranium enrichment technology would possibly lead to military usage.
In response to Tehran's defiant resumption of nuclear research work, the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany has called for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s board of governors on February 2-3 to vote for referring the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council.
Iran has said that it will never give up its legitimate rights even before the UN Security Council, warning that it would resume uranium enrichment at the industrial production level if the case was submitted.
Iran rejects the US charge as politically motivated and says its nuclear research is completely peaceful.
US says Iran playing games with international community
The US said yesterday that Iran is playing games with the international community by not accepting a Russian proposal on Iran's nuclear issue.
"They appear to be playing more games with the international community," White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said at a briefing.
"This is a regime that continues to defy the international community and fail to comply with its obligations," McClellan said, adding that the US is still discussing with its partners and others about the best way to send a clear message to Iran.
US President George W. Bush said on Thursday that he backed the Russian proposal and said Iran could have a civilian nuclear program but with preconditions.
The preconditions were that the material used to power the plant would be manufactured in Russia, delivered under the IAEA inspectors and the waste of which would be picked up by the Russians and returned to Russia, Bush said.
"I think that is a good plan. The Russians came up with the idea and I support it," Bush said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 28, 2006)