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Rowhani discusses EU foreign ministers trip to Iran, additional protocol


Iran's Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) on Tuesday elaborated on the process which led to the visit of three EU foreign ministers to Tehran, IRNA reported.

Speaking to reporters, Hassan Rowhani said the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany had earlier written to Iran and proposed to avert the tension between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Following the resolution against Iran by the IAEA Board of Governors against Iran and its rejection by Tehran, talks were continued with the foreign ministers leading to an invitation to them to visit Tehran.

Before their arrival, an expert delegation visited Tehran to prepare the grounds for their trip.

Europeans were pursuing certain aims in their discussion with Iran including suspension of nuclear fuel recycling in lieu of providing nuclear technology, building power plants and supplying nuclear fuel in the long-term.

"Naturally, these proposals were categorically rejected by Iran," Rowhani added. "I have repeatedly said that all peaceful nuclear activities by Iran including, uranium enrichment, are the inalienable right of the nation." There is no official in Iran or abroad who has the right to go against this legitimate right.

The Iranian people also see peaceful nuclear program as their legitimate right, 'but, because we had to resolve the Tehran-IAEA row we agreed to the the moratorium on uranium enrichment'. "This means we will stop nuclear activities for a short time. Although this decision has been taken voluntarily."

These concerns have been clearly spelled out in the meetings with the EU foreign ministers that Iran regards the access to civilian nuclear technology as its legitimate right, he added. "However, in order to instill confidence we will cease activities for a period of the government choosing," Rowhani said adding "We will not bow done to pressures.

"We also turned the table on the Europeans and they agreed that the access to peaceful nuclear technology is a legitimate right of our country and this has been outlined in the joint deceleration. "The third issue is Iran's concerns that the additional protocol will not harm the national interests and prestige, which the EU foreign ministers also approved and the point is also mentioned in the declaration.

"The European foreign ministers agreed that the protocol should not threaten the sovereignty and prestige of Iran. "The EU official agreed to be more active in the region's security. Iran warned them that Israel is the ominous threat to the region and it is our goals to establish a free nuclear Middle East. "We stressed on the pivotal European role to lessen the nuclear threat and they agreed, saying they will cooperate with Iran on the matter," declared Rowhani.

Elsewhere in his statements, he said Iran will continue talks with the Europeans with the aim of bolstering confidence to forge closer relations.

He further said some powers want Iran-IAEA tension to remain and even strove to take the issue off the hand of the nuclear watchdog body and bring to the fore in the international arenas. "Our agreement with the Europeans means that the issue should be settled within the IAEA framework and they also, in an article to the joint declaration stress this point," he noted.

On the general trend in Iran-Europe relations, Rowhani said, "On the whole Europe recognizes our rights and national security concerns in the goal of expansion of bilateral ties and cessation of tensions. "Iran agreed to the additional protocol on the condition that its national interest will not be infringed upon. "As we told the European we do not do this to placate the IAEA but to end tensions and build confidence."

The signing on to the protocol is the first step after which the legal process has to take its course and is up to the Majlis to be the final authority on the issue, said Rowhani.

"Iran and IAEA are cooperating and hopefully in the upcoming weeks ambiguities will be removed in order to reach the desired stage in our relations," the secretary of SNSC underlined.

In related news, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said in Tehran on Tuesday that IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei is quite optimistic about Iran's cooperation with IAEA.

He told IRNA that Iranian officials have already declared that they will provide the agency with the information on Iran's nuclear program.

Gwozdecky added that Iran announced its readiness to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Additional Protocol during ElBaradei's visit to Tehran last week.

Iranian officials had expressed their will for cooperation with the IAEA, while underlining their legal rights to peaceful application of nuclear energy.

Iran has called for clarification of the ambiguities on the impact of signing the NPT Additional Protocol and has pointed out several times that it will ink the document once light is shed on all the dark points in this respect.

The IAEA Board of Governors has set October 31 as the deadline for Iran to present the required complementary information on its nuclear program to the agency.

Meanwhile, Iran is not committed to meet the deadline in view of its rejection of the resolution issued by the IAEA Board of Governors as illegal.

Some experts believe that Iran may even provide the agency with the required information before the deadline, once it is assured of future access to modern nuclear technology.

Given Iran's constant emphasis that it will not ignore its right to peaceful use of nuclear technology, if the visit of the three EU foreign ministers ends up in Iran's access to its requested modern technology, it will be a great success.

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