“We do not see any legal basis for this demand,” Ali Asghar Soltanieh told CNN television.
“There is no limitation or restriction” on peaceful uses of nuclear power according to the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency or nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, he said.
“There is no provision in the IAEA statute also and NPT for requesting a country to stop or suspend enrichment activities,” he said from Vienna.
“The only thing is that the IAEA has to verify and control the activities to make sure that there is no diversion” of fissile material to use in weapons.
He called the most recent report by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei “a document proving our assertion that all activities have been for peaceful purposes and there is no evidence of diversion to nuclear material”.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on a visit to Tehran to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said he was assured that Iran was “prepared to negotiate and find a way out of this crisis”.
He also claimed that Mr Ahmadinejad had said that “Iran does not accept a suspension (of uranium enrichment) before negotiations”.
Iran has defied Western demands to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear fuel and, in highly extended form, the core of an atomic bomb.