Iran News ...


5/23/03

Iranian, French FMs discuss Iraq, terrorism, nuclear programs

Ties between Iran and the European Union as well as Tehran's nuclear energy plans were discussed between Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and his French counterpart Dominique de Villepin in Paris on Thursday on the sidelines of a conference on drugs, IRNA reported.

Kharrazi outlined objectives behind the malevolent propaganda against Iran's nuclear energy programs and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran so far has taken no step which contradicted international regulations."

He brushed aside US allegations about the suspicious nature of Iran's nuclear energy programs and reiterated that Tehran "will pursue these activities with transparency only for peaceful objectives".

Kharrazi renewed the Islamic Republic's criticism that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had failed to fulfill its commitments to the country according to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty agreement, by denying Iran to have access to nuclear technology.

"Those countries which own the nuclear technology must recognize our rights and respect it," he said.

Washington suspects Tehran's nuclear energy ambitions, arguing that 'Iran's costly pursuit of a complete nuclear fuel cycle only makes sense if it's in support of a nuclear weapons program'.

Iran rejects these allegations, saying that the program is aimed at generating 7,000 megawatts of electricity to cope with the rising energy demand in the 65-million-nation in the next 20 years, while its gas and oil reserves are becoming overstretched.

Kharrazi also criticized certain countries, especially the United States, for adopting double standards in fighting terrorism.

"The world public opinion does not accept the classification of terrorism to good and bad. Terrorists must be firmly confronted irrespective of their nationality or thoughts," he said.

To stem terrorism, the anti-terror campaign must be carried out seriously in the form of an all-out, non-selective and international cause.

De Villepin hailed Iran's constructive role in the Iraqi developments, saying France and EU seek to cooperate with the Islamic Republic over resolving the Iraq crisis.

"Iran has a key role in the region and security and peace in the region is achieved only under that country's participation," he added.

The French foreign minister stressed on his country's resolve to fight terrorism and said that Paris would use Iran's experience in the anti-terror campaign.

The two sides also discussed bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including on fighting narcotic drugs.

Kharrazi is here to participate at a two-day "Ministerial Conference on Drug Routes".

The conference, attended by 55 countries, is focusing on how to coordinate expertise and channel resources in the international campaign against drug trafficking.

Secretary General of the Headquarters in charge of anti-drug campaign, Ali Hashemi, and several officials and senior experts are accompanying Kharrazi in the conference.

Iran straddles international drug transit routes, which originate from Afghanistan and Pakistan and stretch as far as Europe.

The country lies at the forefront of the fight against this scourge, in which several thousands of Iranian police and other military personnel have lost their lives since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The campaign costs Iran more than 800 million dollars per year, according to officials.

... Payvand News - 5/23/03 ... --



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