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Rafsanjani highlights Iran's conditions for signing protocol


Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said in Tehran on Friday that Iran's conditions for signing the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) may be the same as those of the US, IRNA reported.

"We also have conditions [for signing the additional protocol] and our conditions may be the same as those which the US has declared in its talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Rafsanjani told worshipers in a sermon at Tehran Friday prayers. He recalled US conditions that its signing the protocol must not jeopardize its security, values and sanctities, and that it must not lead to investigation of issues that are not related to the nuclear energy.

"We have not yet declared our conditions, but I think these are the cornerstone of our conditions," Rafsanjani said.

The Islamic Republic is already a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, the IAEA is refusing to provide Iran with the nuclear expertise that under the agency's regulations it is entitled to receive.

Iran says it needs to receive guarantees before signing the additional protocol that the sanctions imposed by the West are removed and that nuclear powers help the Islamic Republic attain nuclear technology to satisfy its energy needs.

Rafsanjani further refreshed vows that Iran would not pursue atomic weapons, stressing that these weapons are against the religious teachings of Iranians and all the Muslims.

"Just as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has declared, we consider using atomic weapons as haram (forbidden) according to the Islamic sanctities and the principles of our religion," Rafsanjani said.

"We have always been committed to this. Yet, it is regrettable that there is a ballyhoo against Iran in the world even though we have explicitly announced that the Islamic Republic only wants to use the nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."

He further recalled Iran's previous positions that it is willing to continue cooperation with IAEA, and that it would study the NPT's additional protocol thoroughly and would agree to sign it "if it fits our interests".

"They are well aware that we have made this decision at the highest levels of the country and are now following it. But it is very unfortunate that they are so biased and merciless toward us," Rafsanjani said.

The IAEA Board of Governors last month set an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is pursuing peaceful nuclear programs. The resolution that was submitted by Canada, Japan and Australia also calls on Tehran to clarify its nuclear program by the end of October and to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

Rafsanjani called the IAEA Board of Governors "hypocrite, deceitful and opportunist", stressing that this issue is "very ugly and dangerous" for world powers and their image in the international arena.

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