Iran News ...


11/29/03

Iran challenges US, says sure about its peaceful nuclear program

Iran on Saturday expressed confidence that further inspections conducted by the atomic watchdog agency of its nuclear activities will attest to their strictly peaceful nature, IRNA reported from Tehran.


Photo: ISNA

The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Hassan Rowhani, also challenged the United States to bring forth any secrets it claims it has about Tehran's nuclear activities.

"An American official has recently said that they have new information about Iran's nuclear weapons. We urge they (Americans) reveal what they have," he told reporters at a news conference here. "Our nuclear activity is categorically peaceful and will be such," Rowhani, who has emerged as Iran's nuclear trouble shooter in recent months, added.

"Americans will achieve nothing as regards Iran's nuclear activities; we are sure about ourselves. In other words, the Americans have failed in this respect," the official said.

The United States led the anti-Iran front during a recent meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, hoping Tehran will be reported to the UN Security Council.

Washington, however, accepted a compromise resolution after Germany, Britain and France insisted that the Islamic Republic must be rewarded for its transparency and cooperation with IAEA.

"Americans sought to score a point with a threat, but we chose the path of cooperation with the Europeans, who reciprocated it and the policy worked," Rowhani said. "America can also choose this path," he added.

The official welcomed further IAEA inspection which is expected to become more intrusive after Iran signs an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying "We have no worry about continued inspections by the agency's experts.

"The wider inspections on Iran's nuclear activities become, the more evident will become the fact that Iran has moved on the track for making peaceful use of the nuclear energy," he said.

The inspections, Rowhani added, will also shed light on those issues which Iran has been cited as having rode roughshod in the past.

HALT OF URANIUM ENRICHMENT TEMPORARY

The SNSC secretary ruled out a permanent suspension of uranium enrichment activity, stressing that the halt was temporary.

"The issue of suspending the enrichment is voluntary in order to build trust. A permanent suspension has never been an issue and will never be," he said.

Rowhani stressed that 'activities for establishing a fuel cycle and uranium enrichment are peaceful and we will reserve this right for ourselves forever'.

Iranian specialists have acquired the technology for uranium enrichment in the face of a 25-year-old embargo and the country is proud of this, he added.

Rowhani did not rule out the participation of further countries apart from Russia in the construction of nuclear power plants for Iran 'given the favorable situation which is in the making with Europe'.

Russia is assisting Iran with the construction of a nuclear plant in the southern city of Bushehr and is holding negotiations with the Islamic Republic on building the second plant.

"We have decided to build eight (nuclear) power plants. The first plant is being completed by Russia and it is probable that the contract for the second plant is also signed with Russia, but six other plants may be constructed by others," Rowhani said.

Citing reasons for Tehran's efforts to establish a nuclear fuel cycle, the official said, "We will have eight power plants in future and we want to supply the fuel for at least one of them from our own."

Rowhani also brushed aside speculations about a possible Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and said, "These threats are not new and they will not go beyond more than being rhetoric.

"Israel knows well that if it carries out any attack against Iran, it will receive a strong and crushing answer," he said, adding "They have no doubt that they have to pay a very heavy price or such an attack and hence we have no worry in this respect."

... Payvand News - 11/29/03 ... --



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