President Khatami offered guarantees that the Islamic government was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program. In a press conference on Saturday in Tehran, he said the US would not succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan without help from Iran. He hoped Americans would vote President Bush out of office and brushed aside concerns about any US attack on Iran.
August 28, 2004 - "We are ready to do everything necessary to give guarantees that we won't seek nuclear weapons," President Mohammad Khatami said on Saturday in a news conference in Tehran, during which he warned the US that it cannot hope to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan without help from the Islamic government.
Khatami denied US charges that Iran was hiding a nuclear weapons program in the guise of a civilian project to generate electricity, but asserted that the Islamic government's nuclear program will continue.
"As Muslims, we can't use nuclear weapons," he said. "One who can't use nuclear weapons won't produce them."
He did not elaborate on the nature of "guarantees," but said the Islamic government was not going to abandon its nuclear program.
Khatami's statement marks the first time Tehran has so publicly said it would provide guarantees to ease international concerns about its nuclear program, the Associated Press said in a dispatch from Tehran.
He asked the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency to resist pressures from the US, which has called for declaring Iran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and referring it to the US Security Council for possibly imposing sanctions.
Khatami said the US did not have evidence to demand UN sanctions against Iran.
He made it clear that the Islamic government would rather see President Bush defeated in the upcoming US Presidential Election. He hoped that the US casualties in Iraq would turn American voters against President Bush, who's Administration he blamed for broadening the wall of mistrust between the two counties.
"The US knows that it can't succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan without an Iranian presence," he said. "Without imposing itself, Iran is considered an effective force in Iraq. You can't ignore the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khatami added.
Some Iraqi officials, including the defense minister, have charged Iran with attempts to infiltrate national and local Iraqi institutions.
Khatami brushed aside concerns about an Iraq-style US attack on Iran, and said Israel would commit suicide if it targets Iran's nuclear facilities.
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