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Iran-US ties should be based on mutual respect: Iranian FM

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran on Friday evening said that Iran-US talks will be meaningful only when they are based on mutual respect and equality, IRNA reported.

Talking to foreign and domestic journalists on the conclusion of the 30th foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), he said that talks with any country that would amount to an intereference in the domestic affairs of the Islamic Republic would not yield fruit.

"Washington should prove that it is genuinely ready to hold talks with Tehran on the basis of mutual respect," Kharrazi stressed, and then called for an end to US threats against Iran.

"The US is not serious in its war against terror," he said, stressing that contrary to outward manifestations, "Washington is supporting terrorists."

If a particular terrorist move is against US interests in any part of the world, Washington condemns it, but when it is against any other country's interest, it chooses to be silent and does nothing to confront it, he said, noting that Washington has even signed a ceasefire agreement with some terrorist groups.

On the alleged presence of Al-Qaeda fugitives in Iran, Kharrazi said that it is the policy of the government that as soon as any Al-Qaeda member is identified inside its borders, that member is arrested and returned to his home country or sent to any of the European, African or Persian Gulf countries.

He admitted that some suspected Al-Qaeda members have managed to enter Iranian territory illegally because of the country's long borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but that these have been arrested and are currently under investigation.

Referring to the recent remarks of a Russian official that Moscow is unaware of any Iranian hidden nuclear activities, the Iranian foreign minister said that Russia is cooperating with Iran in the construction and completion of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr. He said other countries are invited to help Iran construct power plants.

Responding to a question on whether Iran intends to establish a group similar to the Lebanese Hezbollah to operate in Iraq, Kharrazi said the US and its allies are trying to justify their failures in that country by making such outrageous allegation.

"They claim that Tehran interferes in Iraqi domestic affairs but they cannot prove such claim," he added.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is not and will not interfere in Iraqi affairs, he asserted, adding that Tehran's policy is to promote friendly ties with all its neighbors on the basis of mutual respect.

On Tehran-Cairo bilateral ties, Kharrazi said relations between the two countries are growing.

Iran and Egypt are major countries in the region, he said, and it is in their interest to hold talks in order to settle outstanding disputes.

Terming the outcome of the OIC foreign ministers' session in Tehran a "success," he called on the OIC to exert its appropirate role in global affairs.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference at the conclusion of the conference on Friday, he said serveral resolutions were passed touching on different Islamic issues.

Kharrazi says lifting sanctions a pre-requisite for signing Additional Protocol

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Friday that Tehran will sign the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s Additional Protocol if sanctions against it are lifted, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Kharrazi told reporters on the sidelines of the 30th Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Tehran on Friday that if all sanctions, pressures and restrictions against Iran are lifted and nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is put at its disposal Iran will sign the protocol.

Under the IAEA Additional Protocol signatories would allow the Agency to inspect all their facilities without any notice. Until now 93 states have signed the protocol.

Kharrazi said that Iran has always been acting transparently in the case of nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, he said Tehran should be accountable to public opinion for signing the protocol.

Despite signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Tehran is still deprived of many of its rights and there are a lot of sanctions and pressures currently in effect, he added.

Kharrazi said that if Iran gets to sign the IAEA's Additional Protocol too, public opinion in Iran would have the right to question the measure taken by Iranian authorities.

He said transparency in international relations should be reciprocal and it should not be in a way for a party to act transparently and the other part vice-versa.

He also said that Iran would not oppose involvement of other western states' contribution to construction of any power plant in its territory.

The minister said Iran should generate 6,000 megawatts of power in the next 20 years and regretted that only a limited number of countries are in possession of nuclear technology.

He stressed that any country can take turn in tenders for construction of power plants in Iran.

... Payvand News - 5/31/03 ... --

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