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Khatami: Peaceful atomic program dominated Iran-Austria talks

President Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran on Tuesday that in the Austrian President Thomas Klestil's meetings with Iranian authorities, Iran reiterated the transparency of its atomic program and stated once again that it doesn't intend to produce nuclear weapons, IRNA reported.

Speaking to reporters in the ceremony to see off President Klestil, he stressed Iran's continued cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) and referred to Tehran Declaration as a proper framework for collaboration, adding that there is no need to worry about the issue.

The president declared Iran's approval for a region free from nuclear weapons and noted, "Attempts should be made to clear the Middle East region from the weapons of mass destructions. The countries currently involved in producing atomic weapons should stop their risky undertaking."

In response to another question on the outcome of talks between the visiting Austrian delegation and Iranian officials, he hoped for expansion of bilateral ties in various fields, given the historical, geographical and cultural affinities of the two states.

Turning to agreements signed between Iran and Austria, he said that the documents indicate the determination of the two countries to broaden ties.

The chief executive hoped that Iran would manage to implement its project to transfer gas to Europe via Turkey and Austria through close cooperation with its Austrian friends.

He noted that the outlooks of the two states on a great number of issues are either the same or quite close.

For his part, President Klestil, speaking to correspondents said that in the negotiations he was convinced that the process of reform in Iran would continue.

Expressing satisfaction over the voluntary signing of the additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by Iran, he said, "We were glad to witness that Iran volunteered to ink the protocol and suspended the enrichment process of its uranium and believe that IAEA is also satisfied with the move.

"We are awaiting the report of IAEA Chief Mohammad ElBaradei on the issue and would certainly declare our and EU approach on the issue once the document is published," he added.

He pointed to Iran-Austria ties as friendly and said that in meetings with Iranian authorities, views were exchanged about issues such as human rights, campaign against terrorism and the Middle East. President Klestil said that the Europeans have pledged to fulfill their commitments towards Iran.

Turning to the Monday meeting between the chambers of commerce of the two states, he noted, "Iran and Austria have the potential to expand their cooperation in a variety of fields including energy, environment, transfer of technology, science and culture."

He referred to his meeting with the Supreme Leader, the president and Majlis speaker as quite positive and effective.

The Austrian president also lauded the attempts of Iranian government to promote reform in the country.

President Klestil, who has been visiting Tehran at the head of a high-ranking delegation since Saturday, left Tehran at noon as he was seen off by his Iranian counterpart.

... Payvand News - 1/27/04 ... --

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