Iran's chief atomic negotiator says his country will submit within a month, new proposals for talks with key European Union countries in an effort to settle the dispute over Tehran nuclear ambitions. The hard-line envoy, Ali Larijani, told journalists in Vienna Iran is powerful enough not to be worried about the consequences of UN Security Council involvement.
Ali Larijani told reporters Iran has a basic right to develop nuclear energy and opposed what he called "nuclear apartheid." He said Iran's chief counterpart in negotiations concerning Tehran's nuclear fuel work remained the Internationasl Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA.
But he says Iran is considering involving other groups of countries to break the deadlock with European nations that have tried for a year to strike a compromise deal with Tehran.
Mr. Larijani said South Africa was one of the countries that could play an important role in future negotiations.
The French government has cancelled talks originally scheduled with Iran for next week and European diplomats are reported to be considering backing U.S. efforts to send the matter to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
The United States and other countries suspect that Tehran is secretly building nuclear weapons, something Iran strongly denies.
But the Iranian negotiator said one thing needed to be clear.
He says with the power Iran enjoys in the region there is no way that it can be worried about the threat of the U.N. Security Council. He added it would not be in the interest of the Americans or the Europeans to make the Iranian nuclear issue what he called a "security dossier".
Mr. Larijani said Iran would come up with a new proposal for its talks with France, Germany and Britain. He said he was optimistic the two sides will come to an agreement.
Iran's nuclear activity will be on the agenda of the next meeting of the IAEA board of governors scheduled for September 19.