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Iran Foreign Minister says Tehran should continue talks with London

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran on Wednesday that Tehran should naturally continue talks with London, that is a member of the European Union, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Kharrazi told a press conference after a weekly cabinet meeting that Iran has been engaged in political talks with Britain to outline and clarify its stances and prepare the ground for expansion of ties in line with mutual interests.

He said Iran holds talks with British or other countries with an aim of expanding ties, forging mutual understanding and removing any ambiguity.

He added that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's visit fell within the said framework.

Asked to comment on criticism voiced against Straw's Tehran visit, Kharrazi said such criticism by the press and public have historical roots but over the past couple of years either side have been trying to expand ties and fortunately positive steps have been taken in this connection.

He said Tehran-London ties have broadened compared to the past and regular exchange of visits by officials of both countries have taken place to forge further understanding and lift impediments to bilateral ties.

He cited his visit to Britain as an example, saying that during such visits he too usually holds talks with officials of that country although both sides may fail to reach full understanding. It is natural to see differences of opinion and at the same time unanimity of views on some cases during Straw's visit to Tehran, he added.

Commenting on Iran's nuclear programs, Kharrazi said Tehran has announced readiness for cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and related talks are underway.

As for Iraq, Kharrazi said stability in Iraq is something that all regional countries agree upon. "This has been our policy so far that we should try to guarantee stability and security in Iraq, ensure immediate pullout of foreigners as well as establishment of a popular government there," said the minister.

He also referred to expiration of a deadline for a deal with Japan on development of Azadegan oilfield in southern part of Iran, saying despite this Japanese companies can continue their talks with Iran in this regard.

He said other companies too can contribute to the project.

... Payvand News - 7/2/03 ... --

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