Iran warned the Group of Eight on Thursday it had no intention of halting its nuclear program despite criticism by G8 leaders of Tehran’s cooperation with the United Nations’s nuclear watchdog.
“Using peaceful nuclear energy is Iran’s natural right and…G8 countries should not expect Iran to abandon this right,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in a statement carried by state media.
G8 leaders from the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia issued a statement on Wednesday accusing Iran of dragging its feet on full disclosure of its nuclear activities.
“We deplore Iran’s delays, deficiencies in cooperation and inadequate disclosures,” the statement said.
Iran strongly denies Washington’s assertion that it is building a secret nuclear arms capability. Tehran says its nuclear program will be used exclusively to generate electricity.
Asefi described the G8 statement as “illogical.”
“Iran has shown its full commitment to the non-proliferation of atomic weapons in practice and its wide and transparent cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is proof of that,” Asefi said.
IAEA governing board members are due to discuss Iran’s nuclear program next week based on an IAEA report which, while praising Tehran’s increased cooperation, said it could still not confirm Iran’s nuclear aims were entirely peaceful.
Asefi said G8 nations, instead of putting pressure on Iran, should provide technology and equipment to help it finish its nuclear program.