Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that his country will not stop its nuclear enrichment activity, while pledging to have “constructive interaction” with the international community.
Rouhani made the statement during an interview on IRIB television, where he maintained that Iran has a right to enrichment and will never stop doing so.
“I want to assure our people that the principles set by people, the rights which belong to the people, the framework which the Supreme Leader has set, these will be applied until the end of the negotiations. Meaning that in the country, our nuclear right will be operational with more strength and clarity. Even the right of enrichment which is a part of our nuclear rights will continue. It [enrichment] is being continued today, it will continue tomorrow, and our enrichment will never stop. This is our red line,” said Rouhani.
The statement came days after Iran agreed to an interim deal with the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany to limit portions of its nuclear program in exchange for targeted relief from international sanctions.
Under the agreement, Iran can continue enriching uranium, but only up to 5 percent, a level that is suitable for generating power. Iran also must neutralize its stock of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which can be used for medical research but is also a short step from the level needed to create a nuclear bomb.
Rouhani said his government’s goal is to end the sanctions imposed by the Security Council and individual nations, which want Iran to halt its enrichment because of fears it has been trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly insisted that its enrichment is only for peaceful purposes.
The president pledged to work with the nations involved in the interim deal – the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – in order to reach a comprehensive agreement.
The two sides have said that a long-term solution would include “practical limits” and transparency to ensure Iran’s nuclear work is peaceful, while giving Iran full sanctions relief.