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Iranian and British FMs discuss Iraq, nuke issues over phone

Tehran, April 9, IRNA -- Foreign Ministers of Iran Kamal Kharrazi and his British counterpart Jack Straw on Friday discussed the latest developments in the region and Iraq as well as the Iranian nuclear programs.

According to the Press and Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, Kharrazi expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the mass massacre of the innocent civilians by the US-led coalition forces.

He said the best way of settling the current crisis in Iraq is to bringing an end to the bloodshed and the military action by the occupation forces in the war-ruined country.

He said the US troops would have done better to consider the advice of the grand Ayatollah al-Sistani to halt the military action and to restore calm to the nation.

He said one cannot restore peace through bloodshed and violence adding that the current situation in Iraq is unacceptable. The United States has spread violence and mass massacre of civilians by implementing its improper policies and bullying methods, Kharrazi warned.

Straw expressed regret and worry over the deepening crisis in Iraq and called on Iran to go ahead with its constructive cooperation with the international community and Britain to settle the crises in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He urged Tehran to continue its constructive consultations to settle the Iraqi crisis.

The US-led occupation of Iraq sank deeper in turmoil Friday on the anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster as its forces pressed a drive against insurgents in number of cities and towns after seeking to arrange talks.

Faced with mounting popular anger over heavy civilian casualties in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, US civil administrator Paul Bremer announced a unilateral 24-hour suspension of the offensive against Sunni Muslim rebels.

More than 400 Iraqis have been killed and 1,000 wounded in the Fallujah fighting over the past few days.

Straw and Kharrazi further discussed Iranian nuclear activities. Straw made comments on the Iranian nuclear programs and welcomed the ongoing cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Straw said the EU would continue to support the negotiations between Iran and the IAEA.

Kharrazi turned to the visit to Iran by the UN nuclear watchdog Chief Mohammad ElBaradei and said a timetable has been prepared to discuss and settle the nuclear issue between Tehran and IAEA and the two sides have agreed upon.

He hoped that the EU would continue its efforts to help settle the issue through dialogue.

Visiting head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said here on Tuesday that Iran's interests as well as those of the international community call for resolving Iran's nuclear issues as soon as possible.

ElBaradei told reporters after meeting the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani that Iranian officials had assured him that the Islamic Republic will actively live up to its commitments toward the IAEA.

He voiced satisfaction over the results of his talks with Rowhani, stressing that the IAEA is keen on continuing cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

He said Iran and the IAEA have made good progress in promoting mutual nuclear cooperation.

ElBaradei arrived in Tehran Tuesday morning for a one-day visit to discuss Iran-IAEA nuclear cooperation with Iranian officials. He also met President Mohammad Khatami to discuss Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.

... Payvand News - 4/9/04 ... --

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