Iran said on Tuesday uranium enrichment was its "red line" and would continue, despite an enhanced offer of incentives from big powers to stop activity.
The EU's top diplomat, Javier Solana, presented Tehran on Saturday with an adjusted package of economic benefits designed to persuade it to curb its nuclear work, and said Iran should stop enrichment during negotiations to implement the offer.
"We have repeatedly said that enrichment is our red line and we should enjoy this technology. The work will be continued," deputy foreign minister Alireza Sheikhattar told reporters, according to the state news agency IRNA.
The incentive package agreed by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany last month and delivered by Solana is a revised version of one rejected by Iran in 2006.
Iran said it was in no hurry to respond to the incentives proposal, saying it is being reviewed.
"We will give our answer as soon as possible. But we do not know exactly when it will be," the Iranian official said.
A senior Iranian official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters Iran's response would not be a straight yes-or-no answer. "It will be a discussable response. We might accept some elements of the proposal and reject some others," he said.
"But suspension of enrichment is not on the agenda."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday Europe would take further sanctions against Iran, speaking of immediate action to freeze the overseas assets of Iran's biggest bank, the Bank Melli.
But after a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, Solana said the EU had yet to decide on a new round of sanctions. The U.N. Security Council has imposed three rounds of limited sanctions on Iran since 2006.
Iran insists, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, that it has the right to master the complete nuclear fuel cycle, including enriching uranium, for peaceful purposes. It says it wants nuclear power only for electricity generation.
Last Mod: 17 Haziran 2008, 18:05