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Khatami: Iran has no intention of manufacturing nuclear weapons

President Mohammad Khatami on Monday categorically stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention of manufacturing nuclear weapons, IRNA reported from Tehran.

During a meeting with the visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, his statement reflected the national policy.

Voicing the deep concern of world countries regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he called on the global community to treat all countries pursuing a nuclear energy program without discrimination.

On Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), President Khatami said the Islamic Republic has full cooperation with the agency, and urged the international community to acknowledge Iran's peaceful objectives in developing nuclear energy.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatami stressed the need to come up with tactful and logical solutions to the existing problems of the region and the world.

He said regional countries need to cooperate and coordinate in order to achieve their common interests and objectives. "Security and stability of regional states are intertwined," he added.

Briefing Straw on Iran's stands regarding developments in Iraq, Khatami said it is the right of the Iraqi people to establish the kind of government they desire and to settle their existing problems accordingly.

The Iraqi people should be involved in their country's affairs, he said, adding that such a proposal will benefit Iraq, the entire region, and the whole world.

Referring to the formation of some terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda for securing the interest of big powers, he said the Islamic Republic was against such terrorist groups which have extremist and dangerous viewpoints from the very beginning.

Iran counters the arrested members of al-Qaeda for their terrorist policies and creating difficulties for the Islamic Republic, the president said.

Criticizing the recent stand taken by the British officials, he expressed the hope that British Ambassador to Tehran would transfer the realities in Iran to his country's authorities so that they may not be confused in their evaluations.

Last week, British prime Minister Tony Blair, responding to an MP at the House of Commons, had uttered statements in support of the recent unrest in Tehran.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi last Tuesday characterized statements by Blair as 'irresponsible' and 'outside the norms of mutual understanding and respect'.

He added that such statements will only dilute bilateral ties and cause a stir in relations from which 'Britain will not benefit'.

Expressing satisfaction with his fourth visit to Tehran, Straw voiced his country's interest to promote bilateral cooperation with Iran, which he referred to as an important country in the sensitive Mideast region.

Underlining the need for reconstruction of Iraq and importance of establishment of peace and security in that war-torn country, he termed Iran's role in that regard as very significant.

He called on all world countries to combat against terrorism and terrorist groups in the region.

London and the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair are interested in establishment of friendly ties with Tehran, he said voicing their concern over violation of human rights in Iran.

London is interested in continuation of economic and trade cooperation with Iran within the framework of the regulations of the European Union (EU), he added.

Straw appreciates Iran's cooperation in Iraqi affairs

Visiting British Foreign Secretary Jack Stra here on Sunday appreciated Iran's cooperation regarding the Iraqi affairs.

In a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi, he said the attack on Iraq was based on some evidence proving the existence of chemical weapons in Iraq and Saddam's willingness to make nuclear weapons.

On Iran's cooperation regarding the Iraqi affairs, Straw said that although there were some concerns about the future, he was satisfied with Iran's cooperation.

concerning British stands regarding Iran, he said London and Tehran enjoy identical views regarding certain developments while Britain disagrees with some of Iran's policies in foreign affairs.

He believes that the differences should be settled through both countries' efforts.

Straw who arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit said that he tries to continue former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's policy of promoting bilateral cooperation with Iran.

On the current visit to Tehran of the British foreign secretary, Kharrazi said the visit is taking place at a time when there are various issues to talk about.

He said Iraq, Afghanistan, the Mideast, Terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction were major issues discussed by him and Straw during their one and a half hour meeting.

"Naturally, there are differences in views between the two countries while the two countries enjoy identical views regarding some issues," Kharrazi said adding that Tehran welcomes current visit of Mr straw and bilateral talks between the two sides.

On current status in Iraq, he said Tehran is not satisfied with the present situation in the war-torn Iraq and believes that better mechanisms can be adopted to handle the situation there.

He further voiced Iran's readiness to play a positive role in establishment of a democratic government in that country.

As to the Mideast situation, the Iranian foreign minister said that an unbalanced equation exists in the region with full support of the US for the Israeli policies on one hand and the oppressed Palestinians defending their rights bare-handedly on the other.

As long as the big powers are playing one-sided roles in the region, the Palestinian nation will not achieve its legitimate rights, he emphasized.

On weapons of mass destruction, Kharrazi said Iran's policy regarding the issue is completely transparent and expects other countries, including Britain, to act in a similar manner.

Answering a question on the existing differences between Iran and Britain, Kharrazi said Tehran believes that there are double standard policies adopted towards terrorist operations throughout the globe. In the area of nuclear activities, Tehran believes that all sides should act transparently, he added.

Answering the same question, Straw said Britain is a member of the UN Security Council and Iran is an important country in the Middle East. London believes that the two sides should settle the existing problems through negotiations, he added.

... Payvand News - 6/30/03 ... --

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