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President Khatami: Iran seeks a Middle East free from WMD

President Mohammad Khatami said on Monday that Iran seeks the Middle East to become free from weapons of mass destruction (WMD), IRNA reported from Tehran.

In a meeting with President Imamali Rahmanov, President Khatami said that international relations should be based on mutual respect.

President Khatami called for international cooperation to strengthen the status of the United Nations which has been undermined by the United States.

Khatami pointed to the cultural and historical amity between the two nations and said that the Tajik president's visit to Iran indicates national resolve from the two sides to develop bilateral, regional and international cooperation.

He said that Iran favors co-existence and non-interference in the domestic affairs of neighboring countries as well as detente and confidence-building with other states.

On the transport networks linking Iran to Tajikistan and Afghanistan, he said that the networks also include a link between the east and west of the world and a route for trade.

Elaborating on Iranian policy toward Afghanistan, President Khatami said that the international campaign against terrorism would be effective with cooperation of the entire international community adding that Tehran and Dushanbe had positive cooperation in this respect both in the past and in future.

On Iraq, President Khatami hoped that the Iraqi people could establish their own government.

The president underlined the need to establish a lasting peace in the Middle East by restoring the rights of the Palestinians.

President Rahmanov called for implementation of the agreements already reached between the two countries.

He said that economic cooperation would serve to strengthen political relations between the two countries and also would contribute to regional cooperation.

President Rahmanov expressed concern about resumption of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and drug trafficking originating from that country and called for collective measures to fight drug trafficking.

He said that Tajikistan has concerns about peace in Afghanistan adding that situation in Afghanistan has impacts on the stability of the region.

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Minister of Agriculture Jihad Mahmoud Hojjati were also present in the meeting.

President Rahmanov heading a delegation arrived in Tehran on Monday morning.

He is expected to take part in a summit of three states of Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan during his three-day stay in Tehran.

EU calls on Iran to sign additional protocol on NPT

EU foreign ministers Monday called on Iran to sign the additional protocol to the NPT but said the European bloc recognizes Iran's right to develop a nuclear program for civilian purposes, IRNA reported from Luxembourg.

According to a 7-point draft resolution on Iran, the ministers said they took note ''with concern of the Report on impelemetation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran submitted by the Director General of IAEA on June 6.''

The ministers called on Iran to ''conclude and implement urgently and unconditionally an Additional Protocol.''

They said ''progress in these matters and strengthened dialogue and co-operation are interdependent, indissociable and mutually reinforcing elements of Eu-Iran relations.''

Kharrazi: Iran has no nuclear arms program

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Sunday that Iran has no nuclear arms program, IRNA reported from Tehran.

In a meeting with special Advisor to the Japanese prime minister Yukio Okamoto, Kharrazi said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is against nuclear arms in line with the Islamic ethics.

Kharrazi said Iran has put all its nuclear program under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and has no undeclared atomic program.

Kharrazi and Okamoto reviewed expansion of mutual relations and studied avenues to foster and deepen mutual ties.

Underlining the need for establishment of a democratic government in Iraq, he called for collective measures of the world community to help form a stable government there as quickly as possible.

Referring to the resistance of Palestinians to atrocities of the Zionists, he described the repressive policies of Sharon and ignoring the Palestinian's rights as main obstacles to resolving their problem.

Yukio Okamoto, for his part, described the Islamic Republic of Iran as a very important country and voiced his country's willingness to broaden all-out ties with the country.

Iran plays a very effective role in restoring peace and security in the region and its positive cooperation in resolving crisis in Iraq and Afghanistan is very constructive and useful, he said.

Iranian nuclear program totally for peaceful purposes

The Iranian nuclear program is totally transparent and of a peaceful nature, said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, IRNA reported from Tehran.

According to the spokesman, the US is hurling accusations to pressure participants, particularly Iran, in Monday's IAEA meeting in Vienna.

A statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry published on Sunday said that "such pressure will not influence cooperation between Iran and the IAEA."

It noted that the Iranian nuclear program has only one objective: generation of power to meet the country's peaceful needs.

Tehran bluntly spurned Washington's allegations that Iran intends to lay hands on weapons of mass destruction.

... Payvand News - 6/16/03 ... --

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