WORLD NEWS –  TEHRAN: Iran “will never stop” its controversial  uranium enrichment, the country’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Tuesday, on the  sidelines of a Non-Aligned Movement ministerial meeting in Tehran.

“Our enrichment activities will never stop and we are justified in carrying  them out, and we will continue to do so under IAEA supervision,” Ali Asghar  Soltanieh told reporters.

“We will not give up our inalienable right to enrichment,” he said.

The defiant reaffirmation of Iran’s position underscored a showdown between the Islamic republic and the UN’s IAEA, and the  UN Security Council.

Western diplomats last week said that months of clean-up work detected  at Parchin suggested the site had been “sanitized” to such an extent that a  nuclear inspection would now be pointless.

Soltanieh responded by saying that Parchin “has been blown out of  proportion” and said claims of nuclear warhead design tests there were  “fabricated by foreign intelligence.”

He said Iran was demanding to see the documents the IAEA was using to  pursue its suspicions about Parchin and urged the agency to “close this  chapter.”

He also said Iran has complained to the IAEA about the leaks.

On Iran’s intent to continue enriching uranium, Soltanieh noted that the  nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the IAEA’s statutes made no explicit  mention of levels of enrichment.

“The level of enrichment and how much to enrich has not been fixed in either of those. There is no limitation,” he said.

“Everything we do is under the supervision of the agency,” he stressed.

The United States and its Western allies, and Israel, suspect that Iran is  intent on developing nuclear weapons “break-out” capability. Iran denies that, saying its nuclear programme is purely for civilian use.

The Security Council has repeatedly demanded Iran cease its uranium  enrichment and has imposed four sets of sanctions on the country, which have  been greatly reinforced by separate US and EU sanctions.    The five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany, also this  year engaged in three rounds of face-to-face negotiations with Iran on the  issue, but they ended in an impasse, with contact downgraded to telephone calls  between Iranian and EU officials.

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