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Iran expects ElBaradei's visit to help build trust

Iran hopes the visit by the head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei to the Islamic Republic on Wednesday will help build trust between the two sides, a senior Foreign Ministry official said in Tehran on Monday, IRNA reported.

"We assess the nature of the visit as important and hope that Mr ElBaradei and our officials will achieve some kind of confidence building in order to continue their future negotiations with better prospects," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters.

The visit takes place in accordance with a plan worked out earlier and revolves around Tehran's cooperation with IAEA, the official added.

Asefi also said that Tehran "is ready to hear the views and proposals" of the IAEA chief and "trade views on the circumstances of cooperation" with the international atomic energy watchdog.

"It is clear that we do not see anything merely black and white and our ears are open to listen (to ElBaradei's suggestions)," he said.

The IAEA chief is expected to urge the Islamic Republic to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which allows more inspections and inspections of Iran's nuclear energy facilities without prior notice.

Tehran has conditioned the signing of the additional protocol on nuclear countries' lifting of sanctions which Iran says have been preventing the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear energy know-how.

Iran, which is a signatory to the NPT, would like to be provided with the technology in order to complete its nuclear energy plants in order to generate 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years.


Asefi also cautioned Europe, which is engaged in close ties and constructive dialogue with the Islamic Republic, not to resort to economic sanctions as a weapon to pressure Iran over its nuclear energy program.

"The issue of resorting to trade sanctions is a topic whose consumption date has expired and in the era of growing trade exchanges its use contradicts international norms."

He was reacting, when asked, to the remarks made by Spanish officials who had said the European Union could freeze its talks with Iran on a trade and cooperation agreement which the two sides are expected to sign.

"We advise European officials to make their statements with a little more care and refrain from using the tools of threats and sanctions which have proved ineffective against the Islamic Republic in the past," Asefi said.

"We have made good progress in our relations with Europeans ... the Europeans know that the Islamic Republic will benefit from this agreement as much as the Europeans will do," he added.

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

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