TEHRAN, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Iran will not shut down any of its nuclear facilities, Ali-Akbar Velayati the senior advisor to Iran' s supreme leader was quoted as saying by Tehran Times daily on Tuesday, emphasizing Iran's commitment to develop its nuclear program despite objections from some in the international community.
Iran will not reduce the number of its centrifuge machines and will not shut down the Fordo uranium enrichment plant and the Arak heavy-water reactor as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal with the major powers, Velayati was quoted as saying.
The Islamic republic will continue nuclear talks with major powers, he said, adding that the Iranian negotiating team has completely moved within the guidelines set by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
His statements come a week after the U.S. officials tried to allay their Gulf allies' concerns about a comprehensive deal with Iran by stressing the United States will continue to enforce sanctions against Tehran.
"We will not relent in our efforts to confront Iran's destabilizing behavior... not relent in enforcing sanctions," Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said last Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Asghar Zare'an, deputy chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran for Protection and Security, echoed Velayati's position in a strongly worded statement condemning any attempts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear facilities.
"We need to bear in mind that the hostility of the enemies toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is endless. Therefore, we should wisely and prudently turn the enemies' hope into despair," Zare'an said.
On Jan. 20, Iran and the P5+1 group, including United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, started to implement the interim nuclear deal they clinched in Geneva on Nov. 24, 2013. Under the agreement, Iran suspended 20-percent uranium enrichment and started the process of diluting and oxidizing its 196 kg stockpile of 20-percent enriched uranium in exchange for partial relief of the sanctions imposed on its energy and financial sectors.
After three days of intensive negotiations for a comprehensive deal, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian foreign minister announced on Feb. 20 the timetable for the next round of the talks.