Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday defended his country's decision to resume uranium conversion activities as its right under international conventions, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"Enforcing international conventions does not need negotiations or agreement with other member states and no country can be expected to overlook its right enshrined by conventions," Khatami was quoted as saying in reply to a letter from South African President Thabo Mbeki calling for Iran to delay the resumption for several days.
"Iran does not need 'okay' from any other country for operating in line with Non-Proliferation Treaty and safeguard agreement of International Atomic Energy Agency," Khatami added.
Khatami insisted that Iran has exercised maximum flexibility for confidence building and believes that the other party (the EU) did not make good on Iran's flexibility.
Iran had threatened to resume suspended work at the uranium conversion plant in the central city of Isfahan on Monday but it actually delayed the restart until Saturday at last.
Tehran blamed the crisis on the EU's failure to present a long- awaited nuclear proposal by an Aug. 1 deadline set by Iran.
The EU warned Tuesday that the resumption would bring an end to the negotiations and trigger a procedure to refer Iran's nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.
Iran has suspended activities related to uranium enrichment since November 2004 to pave the way for talks with three EU members - Britain, France and Germany - to settle dispute over its nuclear program which the United States suspects is used to develop nuclear weapons but Tehran insists is for fully peaceful purposes.
The EU has tried to persuade Iran to give up its right to enrich uranium in return for political and economic incentives but Tehran says it will never abandon its legal right to peaceful use of atomic energy.
Khatami, a reformist president who served two consecutive terms since 1997, was succeeded by the new conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday.