Iran will not agree to give up its stockpile of enriched uranium, a top negotiator said on Sunday, ahead of talks on its nuclear program with world powers.
“We will negotiate about the volume, levels and the methods of enrichment but shipping out the (enriched) material is a red line for Iran,” deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi told the state broadcaster, according to Agence France-Presse.
His remarks come ahead of the talks due on October 15-16 in Geneva between six world powers, including Britain and France, which will be the first talks since moderate President Hassan Rowhani took office.
Tehran insists it has a “right” to operate a uranium enrichment program on its soil aimed at civilian and military projects.
Iran currently has a stockpile of 6,774 kilograms of low-level uranium enriched, and nearly 186 kg of medium-enriched material with 20 percent purity, according to latest figures by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in September, AFP reported.
It also possesses some 187 kg of the 20 percent material converted to uranium oxide for use in fuel plates.
“The Iranian negotiating team will present a specific plan ... which we hope will produce results in a logical time period,” Araqchi was quoted as saying by AFP.
Araqchi said he will lead the Iranian team in the talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and representatives from the P5+1 countries as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's top negotiator, will only attend the opening meeting.
He said Iran would “remove all of (the) rational concerns of the other side,” referring to suspicions in the West and Israel that Tehran is pursuing nuclear arms, a claim the Islamic state denies.