Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki vowed on Tuesday that Tehran would never give up its right to uranium enrichment.
"The right to uranium enrichment is a right enshrined by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and Iran just wants to and will enjoy its right," Mottaki told reporters.
Mottaki also voiced Iran's readiness to hold negotiations over large-scale uranium enrichment but vowed that Tehran would not accept any commitments beyond the NPT and the safeguard agreement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"We will not negotiate to give up our legal rights," he stressed.
Meanwhile, Iranian Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel rejected as "illegal" and "unfair" a presidential statement adopted by the UN Security Council on March 29, which asks Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities in 30 days.
"The Security Council has been affected by big powers...We regret that the council, which must keep peace and security, has turned into a tool for practicing discrimination," Adel was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying at the first session of the Majlis after the Iranian new year vacation.
The speaker was echoed by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, who on the sidelines of the Majlis session called on the Iranian nuclear file to be returned to the IAEA.
"We said from the very beginning that the case should be settled in the agency and there is no reason for sending it to another body. The dossier should be returned to the main body (the IAEA). It is not yet late," Asefi was quoted by IRNA as saying. Asefi further said that the IAEA would soon dispatch a team of inspectors to Iran but the inspectors would not be able to carry out snap inspections on the country's nuclear facilities because Iran "is not currently enforcing the additional protocol of the NPT."
Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh said on Monday that the upcoming inspections would be taking place just on the basis of the NPT.
Local media have reported that the new team of IAEA inspectors will arrive in Iran on Friday or Saturday, but the exact date has not been confirmed by official sources.
IRNA also quoted a western diplomat as saying that Director General of the IAEA Mohamed El Baradei "is likely to" report to the UN Security Council on April 27 over Iran's implementation of the council's presidential statement.
Based on the agency's Feb. 4 resolution, the IAEA on March 8 handed over files of the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council after a board of governors' meeting.
After three weeks of heated bargains, the 15-member Security Council on March 29 approved the non-binding presidential statement, asking Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities in 30 days.
Iran has denounced the involvement of the Security Council, vowing never to give in to pressures and bullies.
In retaliation to the IAEA resolution in February, Iran has downgraded its cooperation with the IAEA to the extent as just required by the NPT, barring snap inspections enshrined by the additional protocol while resuming small-scale uranium enrichment.
(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2006)