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June 15, 2012

Iran talks tough on nuclear negotiations

Iranian top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will not compromise the country's right to enrich uranium. (UPI/Maryam Rahmanian)

TEHRAN (UPI) -- Iran won't compromise on its right to enrich uranium, the country's top nuclear negotiator said, casting doubt a pact on the program could be reached.

During an update to Iranian lawmakers Wednesday, negotiator Saeed Jalili dismissed the possibility of suspending uranium enrichment, a central demand of the international powers, The Wall Street Journal reported.

He said Iran recently threatened to walk away from talks if they focused solely on the nuclear issue and didn't address Iran's other concerns such as human rights in Bahrain and piracy in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian leaders changed their minds after Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign secretary, called him Monday to reassure him Iran's concerns would be discussed.

Jalili also intimated western countries were trying to prevent Iran from making scientific advancements, the Journal said.

"The Islamic Republic's nuclear program and nuclear energy is based on our legitimate rights and it's a symbol of our resistance and progress," he said.

Opposition to Iran's nuclear program stemmed from "fear that the Islamic Republic could serve as a role model for progress and defiance in other countries," Jalili told lawmakers.

Western countries have said they believe Iran's nuclear program is to develop nuclear weapons capability. Iran has maintained its program is for civilian purposes.

Iran is to resume talks with the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany in a third round of negotiations next week in Moscow.

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