Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran is forced to enrich uranium because the International Atomic Energy Agency and the world powers have refused to provide the country with the fuel it needs for its reactors.

ISNA is reporting on an interview that Ahmadinejad gave to France 24, in which he stated that uranium enrichment is Iran’s right, and although the Iranian government was not at first inclined to enrich uranium to the 20 percent level, it was forced to do so in order to fulfill the country’s needs.

“According to IAEA regulations, when we presented the agency with our need for the 20-percent-enriched uranium, they were supposed to supply it unconditionally. But they did not do so and began making political demands in order to do so,” Ahmadinejad reportedly said. “Therefore, we were forced to invest in it ourselves and produce the 20-percent-enriched uranium.”

Commenting on the West’s demand that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities, he said: “This is our right. If they want us to forgo this right, first they should present their request and then state what they will offer our people in return.”

World powers claim that Iran’s uranium enrichment activities may be aimed at building nuclear weapons; therefore, the suspension of uranium enrichment appears to have been one of the G5+1‘s main demands during last week’s talks with Iran in Baghdad.

The Baghdad negotiations produced no breakthrough, and both sides announced that they will meet again on June 18 and 19 in Moscow.

While the first round of talks in Istanbul produced much positive hype about the possibility of reaching an agreement, since the Baghdad talks, analysts have been less optimistic about the coming meeting in Moscow.

Asked about the effects of international sanctions on Iran, Ahmadinejad responded: “All countries have problems. Are there no economic problems in France? Are people comfortable? They have problems even without being under sanction. What would happen if they were under sanctions? Sanctions are the mark of bad management of world affairs. The current policies are not aligned with people’s happiness. Does the French government satisfy its people’s needs? Everywhere we have problems, but my question is, do these sanctions solve any problems? Do they provide security? Do they provide human rights or not?”

In addition to UN sanctions, the U.S. and the European Union have been imposing widespread sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors, claiming they’re aimed at stopping Iran from expanding its nuclear program, which they say may be a threat to Israel and the region.