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US using Iran's nuclear program to politicize Moscow conference

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said in Moscow on Saturday that the US tried to politicize the Second International Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and divert its theme from defense-related issues to one of political adventure, IRNA reported.

Deputy Director General for political and international affairs at the Foreign Ministry Ali Asghar Soltani told IRNA that US officials tied issues of non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to their oft-repeated allegations about Iran's nuclear program. "Such accusations about Iran's nuclear program are levelled at a time when the only nuclear-capable country which threatens regional peace is Israel," he declared.

Israel possesses an arsenal of nuclear armaments and since the 1950's and 60's, it has embarked on a massive chemical and biological weapons program, he added.

Iran was the victim of chemical attack during the Iraqi-imposed war (1980-1988) launched by the Saddam regime, Soltani said, pointing out that Tehran has signed all international conventions on the non-proliferation of chemical weapons and has received international certifications to the effect.

Iran had the choice to opt out of the NPT following the 1979 Islamic Revolution but chose to abide by it, the Foreign Ministry official stated.

"Iran's religious tenets are against the production and stockpiling WMD and its nuclear program is completely for peaceful purposes.

"We will in the near future announce our decision on the resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors on September 12," Soltani underlined. Furthermore Iran remains committed to the principles of the IAEA, but it also reserves the right to conduct a peaceful nuclear program." Some countries voiced condemnation of the nuclear watchdog body's resolution including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which, in a declaration, have pointed to shortcomings in the text.

Soltani also called for steps to prevent biased and unilateral actions at international organizations.

An Iranian official in Vienna said last Monday that Iran is fully committed to its NPT responsibilities, not because of its contractual obligation, but also because of its religious and ethical considerations, and it is to officially respond to the resolution in a matter of few days after its study.

Iran's Vice President and Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh told the 47th regular session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Tehran's cooperation with the IAEA within the framework of the comprehensive safeguard will continue as before.

Aqazadeh said that being a signatory to the NPT, Iran's right to the peaceful nuclear technology is an established and recognized fact. The IAEA Board of Governors on September 12 passed a resolution giving Iran an October 31 deadline to prove it had no secret atomic weapons program.

Following growing US pressure for action against Iran, the 35-nation IAEA board issued a resolution setting the deadline. "The resolution was adopted without a vote, a procedure very unusual in the IAEA," said the agency's spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. The resolution, submitted by Australia, Canada and Japan, calls on Iran to 'provide accelerated cooperation' with agency efforts to clear up Tehran's nuclear question marks. It also urges Tehran to suspend all further uranium enrichment-related activities.

Iran's delegation walked out of the board of governors meeting in protest. Iran has repeatedly warned that imposing a deadline would aggravate nuclear tensions.

... Payvand News - 9/21/03 ... --

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