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FM spokesman denies cancellation of Solana's visit to Iran

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi on Sunday dismissed a press report that a planned visit by the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had been scrapped, IRNA reported from Tehran.

"No such visit was ever on the agenda to be cancelled and the news to this effect has been invented by foreign media, but the domestic media have made it bolder," he said in his weekly news briefing.

Asefi also rejected Iran having received a warning from the Europeans about its nuclear program.

"We have not received any letter from the Europeans, but we think such a message has to be given to the Zionist regime so that it gives up its unwise policies," he added.

Asked if there was any nuclear cooperation between Iran and South Africa as reported in some sections of the media, Asefi said, "My answer is negative."

Iran says its nuclear program is in accordance with the country's bid to produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years, when the country's oil and gas reserves become overstretched.

The country has cooperated closely with the European 'big three` -- Germany, France and Britain -- to answer outstanding questions about the country's nuclear program.

In what has been described as a confidence-building measure, Tehran has voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment and manufacture of centrifuge components.

Moreover, the Islamic Republic has signed an additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), allowing snap inspections of its nuclear activities.

Top national security official has however warned that Iran may reconsider its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency if Tehran is declared to have violated the agency's resolutions at next month's IAEA meeting in Vienna.

The IAEA Board of Governors deplored what it called Tehran's failure to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors in its June meeting.

Head of the Supreme National Security Council's foreign policy committee Hossein Mousavian said, "If the Board of Governors' resolutions follow the same trend as before, we may reconsider our agreements while maintaining Iran's commitment to the NPT and safeguards treaties."

Asefi said, "Instead of depriving us of our legitimate right to acquire peaceful nuclear technology, the Europeans had better help us use this right for peaceful intentions."

Asefi urged the world nuclear watchdog to act 'professionally` and not be influenced by certain powers at next month's meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna.

"If the (International Atomic Energy) Agency behaves professionally, given that all ambiguities have been removed, there is no reason for Iran's file not being put on its normal course," he said.

"We have cooperated with utmost sincerity and it is up to the agency to act professionally or be influenced by certain powers," the official added.

... Payvand News - 8/22/04 ... --

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