TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has rebuffed a proposal by U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry who has suggested supplying the Islamic state with nuclear fuel for power reactors if Tehran agrees to give up its own fuel-making capability.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday it would be “irrational” for Iran to put its nuclear programme in jeopardy by relying on supplies from abroad.
“We have the technology (to make nuclear fuel) and there is no need for us to beg from others,” Asefi told a weekly news conference.
Washington says Iran plans to use its nuclear facilities to make atom bombs. Tehran says it merely wants to generate electricity from nuclear power.
U.S. President George W. Bush wants Iran referred to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear programme.
But Kerry says he would put Iran’s intentions to the test by agreeing to supply it with nuclear fuel for its power reactors provided Tehran stopped efforts to make its own fuel and returned the spent fuel after use.
Iran has rejected repeated efforts by European countries to get it to scrap its nuclear fuel-cycle activities — which could be used to make atomic bombs.
Asefi said Iran could not trust any deal from the West to supply it with reactor fuel.
“What guarantees are there? Will they supply us one day and then, if they want to, stop supplying us on another day?” he said.
U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton, in comments published in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, stressed the Bush administration’s tough line on Iran.
“We are not considering any military intervention at the moment. But our position is that we should not exclude any option from the start. Iran must understand that our policy red line is the acquisition of nuclear weapons,” he said.
“The most important thing at the moment is to get Iran on to the agenda of the U.N. Security Council to demonstrate that the international community won’t accept it acquiring nuclear status,” he added.