Iran cannot accept a demand to suspend uranium enrichment because it has no legal basis according to a senior Iranian official. Tehran’s reaction comes in response to a report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to the Security Council which says Iran has failed to meet a deadline to halt enrichment, exposing it to further sanctions.
Iran has ignored the ultimatum which expired on Wednesday and is continuing with its nuclear programme which it claims has purely civilian purposes.
Tehran denies Western accusations it is trying to develop atomic weapons and insists it is simply seeking an alternative energy source for the day oil runs out.
The country already runs around 350 experimental centrifuges used for uranium enrichment and has reportedly installed two extra networks of 164 centrifuges in its underground Natanz plant.
Among ordinary Iranians, there is support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear programme – hundreds of demonstrators gathered before foreign embassies in the capital on Thursday to condemn Western intervention.
Amid speculation Washington could be planning a military offensive against Iran, London has denied such an attack is being planned, saying a diplomatic solution is the only way forward.