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9/18/03

Iran rejects EU stance on linking cooperation to nuclear pact

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi expressed regret on Wednesday over statements made by the Italian representative to the European Union (EU) regarding Iran's nuclear program, IRNA reported from Tehran.

The envoy from Italy, which heads the rotating presidency of the EU, speaking at a public session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that EU`s cooperation with Iran depends on Tehran`s acceptance of the additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

These statements which have been made under duress from some countries, provide no help to strengthen constructive Iran-IAEA cooperation, Asefi underlined.

"They will not deter Iran from its legitimate rights to have access to peaceful nuclear technology either."

Iran and EU have started their diplomatic and economic dialogue based on mutual respect, Asefi said adding "but, as Iran did not accept any precondition for these talks, it will not accept any preconditions for their continuation."

He also expressed hope that the EU will put pressure on Israel to come clean on its nuclear arsenal as well as clarify its position on efforts to prevent production and stockpiling of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to preserve international peace and security. Speaking at a press conference, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said the immediate and unconditional singing of the additional protocol by Iran is EU`s condition for continuation of economic dialogue with Tehran.

Iran remains fully committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) despite its objections to the deadline given to Tehran to prove it is not developing atomic weapons, Iranian Vice President and head of Iran`s Atomic Energy Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh said Monday.

"Iran is fully committed to its NPT responsibilities not only because of its contractual obligation but also because of its religious and ethical considerations," Aghazadeh told a general conference in Vienna of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Aghazadeh also condemned the United States for using a `heavy-handed approach` to force through the deadline in a resolution at a meeting last Friday of the IAEA`s 35-nation board of governors. He said the US tactics were part of an `agenda` that had to do with `partisan politics in the United States`.

... Payvand News - 9/18/03 ... --



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