DUBAI–Iran criticized on Monday a reported plan by major powers to demand the closure of a uranium enrichment plant in return for an easing of sanctions on Tehran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, Iranian media reported. The Islamic Republic, which says its nuclear programme is peaceful, started building the Fordow plant inside a mountain in secret as early as 2006, to protect it from air strikes. Last week Reuters reported world powers were planning to offer to ease sanctions barring trade in gold and other precious metals with Iran in return for steps to shut down Fordow. On Monday Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, suggested the reported offer was unacceptable.
“Lately they have said, ‘Shut down Fordow, stop (uranium) enrichment, we will allow gold transactions,’” Mehmanparast said, according to the Mehr news agency. “They want to take away the rights of a nation in exchange for allowing trade in gold.”