Iran rebukes European Union

Iran rebuked the European Union on Tuesday for calling on it to freeze all nuclear fuel work, insisting it had a clear right to develop a full civilian nuclear energy program. "The EU's statement was surprising. We suggest the Europeans change their behavior toward Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told state television.

The European Union urged Iran on Monday to comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) September resolution, which called on Tehran to re-freeze uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant.

Iran broke U.N. seals at the Isfahan plant in August and began converting tonnes of uranium ore into a gas that can be enriched to amke nuclear reactor or bomb-grade fuel.

Iran says it will never make atomic bombs and only wants to use nuclear technology for electricity generation.

"Iran will never abandon its nuclear fuel cycle," Asefi said after a closed-door meeting of Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and the ambassadors from the European Union and the IAEA board of governors' countries to Iran.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani wrote a letter to the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France this week, in which he called for fresh talks with the EU trio.

The EU has said it is studying Iran's offer of new talks.

Nuclear negotiations between the two sides broke down in August and the EU three have said they will not return to the negotiating table until Iran halts work at Isfahan.

But, in an interview with the BBC aired on Tuesday, Larijani said Tehran would not be intimidated into backing down. I.L.

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