President Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran on Wednesday Iran was showing a successful cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), vowing again that Iran would never accept a protocol that could threaten its sovereignty, IRNA reported.
"We have never said that we will not sign the additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But we will never accept a commitment that may jeopardize the security and national sovereignty of the country," Khatami told reporters after the Majlis open session.
"This is a condition that other countries have also set. Even the US set its own conditions for signing the NPT protocol. We have a right to det conditions."
The Islamic Republic is already a signatory to the NPT. However, the IAEA is refusing to provide Iran with the nuclear expertise that under the agency's regulations it is entitled to receive, arguing that Tehran must first sign the NPT protocol that allows snap inspections of its nuclear sites.
Khatami said that if Iran receives guarantees that its security and sovereignty is not threatened by signing the NPT protocol, it would have no problem in signing the protocol, stressing however that any measure to that effect must run its due legal course -- through the approval of the cabinet and the Majlis.
"The procedure is that the cabinet will study the issue (of Iran's signing the protocol) and the Majlis will approve it," he said.
"Still, what is important for us is that this issue is political and is politically motivated," he 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.
Khatami said the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran had "many" defects from the legal point of view, adding that the resolution had even been biased.
"We have a successful cooperation with IAEA, and we will move forward in accordance with the interests of the country," Khatami said.
"We will never overlook our national interests and security. Yet, we are ready to continue cooperation with the IAEA with goodwill."
The President further expressed hope that Iran would deal with the issue through the due legal means and expressed hope that the issue would be resolved.
Meanwhile, former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday that Iran's conditions for signing the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty may be the same as those of the US.
Rafsanjani intimated in his sermon at Tehran Friday prayers that Iran's signing of 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.
Khatami said the conditions, as highlighted by the former president, were no official positions, adding that what have been declared are only considerations that are common to all countries. "What matters is that Iran's sovereignty and national security must be protected. These issues have also been predicted in the protocol," he said.
... Payvand News - 10/8/03 ... --