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President Khatami: Iran will never relinquish its right over nuclear technology

Tehran, July 14, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that enrichment of uranium for civilian application is Iran's legitimate right and Iran will never relinquish its right recognized by Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting, he said that political pressures are being exerted on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to disrupt the normal procedure of closing Iran's case with IAEA Board of Governors.

Iranian case with the Board of Governors was expected to be closed in mid June, but, the three European states whose foreign ministers had undertaken to help end the case in return for Iran's signing up to additional protocol to NPT drafted a resolution to the Board of Governors totally different from the context of the Tehran Declaration they signed on October 21, 2003.

"They (European partners) had asked Iran to voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment and they will seek to close Iranian case with IAEA. We did so, but, they did not," President Khatami said.

"After we saw they did not keep their promise, we also ended the suspension of uranium enrichment," President Khatami said.

Iran enriches uranium to produce fuel for Bushehr power plant.

"The European friends were expected to select better phrases in the draft resolution with IAEA Board of Governors about Iran. Iran arranged subsequent visits to the nuclear sites of IAEA inspectors, provided them with information to remove the technical problems with the international agency to see Iranian case to be closed. It is unfortunate that we did not get the result," President Khatami said.

"The fact is that the Iranian nation will not agree to see its right of access to nuclear technology denied," he said.

"We will go ahead with cooperation with the international agency and negotiations with our European friends," President Khatami said.

Asked when foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany will come to Iran? President Khatami said that they are not scheduled to come to Iran.

On seizure of British boats and crew in Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, President Khatami said that Iran displayed goodwill be releasing the crew at the earliest convenience and will release the boats at an appropriate time.

"We regard statements being made by certain British officials as a matter of mistake or misunderstanding. The main point for us is the official statement from Britain and the apology made by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for violation of Iranian territory by British Navy," President Khatami said.

... Payvand News - 7/14/04 ... --

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