TEHRAN, Jan 02 (AFP): Iran Monday dealt a new blow to a compromise offer from Russia on its nuclear programme, saying it would only consider such a deal if it acknowledged the Islamic republic's right to enrich uranium on Iranian soil.
"As we said before we want to have enrichment inside Iran... and any proposal which is based on this principle will be studied," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.
"We are studying the Russian proposal based on this framework," he said. "The government will never give up its principles."
Moscow has suggested allowing Iran to conduct uranium enrichment in Russia, giving the country access to the nuclear fuel cycle while guaranteeing its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
The Russian proposal seeks to overcome the key sticking point in talks between Iran and the European Union over the programme, which the United States alleges is a cover for nuclear weapons development.
Elham's comments came after top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani criticised the Russian proposal for having "serious problems."
"It is an idea, not a structured proposal, we don't see it as mature and it has serious problems," Larijani, the secretary of the country's Supreme National Security Council, said on state television.
Iran has denied it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb and says it is seeking only to produce electricity.
However, Larijani did not completely reject the Russian proposal.
"The (Russian) plan could be complementary and supporting, there are technological benefits, we have to examine them. It is not rigid and there is room for maneuver," he said.
Last week, another top national security official had appeared warm to the Russian proposal when he vowed that his country would study it carefully.