Iran rejected a European demand to stop building a heavy water nuclear reactor in return for a light-water reactor Sunday, hardening Iran’s position on a key part of its nuclear facilities that critics claim is part of a weapons program. (nyt/ap)

Iran has given indications in the past that it will insist on keeping its heavy water nuclear reactor, but Sunday’s announcement is its clearest statement yet of its nuclear plans. It underscored the unresolved differences between Iranian and European negotiators, who are continuing their talks over Iran’s nuclear program even as the United States escalates its criticism of Iran.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also said Iran plans to become a major nuclear fuel supplier in 15 years, part of a program that Iran says is for peaceful domestic energy purposes but Washington says is aimed at producing an atomic bomb.

«We intend to turn into an important and a major player in the nuclear fuel supply market in the next 15 years because there will be (an) energy shortage in the future,» Asefi said.

NY Times