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Iran denies having parallel nuclear program

Tehran, May 2, IRNA -- Iran strongly denied Sunday accusations that it was running a secret nuclear weapons program parallel to the country's civilian one.

The accusations were first made by the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), a dissident exile group which has been involved in a ruthless campaign of attacking and assassinating Iranian officials and civilians since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Speaking to reporters here in a weekly news briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said that the report was 'fabricated'.

"The hypocrites (MKO) see their survival in fabricating news and servitude to aliens and in order to guarantee their survival, they fabricate news from time to time.

"But such fabrications have become so rife that no one heeds their allegations any more," he said.

MKO has been listed a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

Asefi stressed Tehran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), including suspension of the nuclear enrichment.

The statements come ahead of the June meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors to discuss the Islamic Republic's cooperation with the international nuclear watchdog.

Asefi said Tehran hoped that all outstanding differences with the agency would be ironed out and existing 'ambiguities' removed by then.

"We hope the issue of cooperation between Iran and the agency would not be politicized and only technical and expert issues would be brought up," he added.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi will embark on a European tour, which will take him to Belgium as well as Germany and Denmark.

Asefi said key topics for discussions include 'Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union as well as regional developments, especially in Iraq'.

The visit comes shortly after Kharrazi met Belgian, Irish, British, French and Italian officials.


Asefi also censured the United States Sunday for deciding to bring thousands of Saddam Hussein's disbanded Ba'ath Party members back to office.

"Since America has no strategy in Iraq -- or if it has, the strategy is rather wrong -- it is pursuing a policy of trial and error. This is unbecoming of a country which boasts of being a superpower," he said.

"All Iraqi officials and the country's source of (spiritual) reference Ayatollah (Ali) Sistani have opposed this. But, the decision taken by the Americans reflects that they have reached a dead-end.

"And (Americans have shown that) whenever they reach a dead-end, they choose the worst solutions," the official said.

The White House announced last Thursday that it was considering a change in policy that would let some members of the Ba'ath Party take part in an interim Iraqi government.

The United States had earlier banned Ba'athists from taking part in the Iraqi government, but observers believe that the sudden change of tactics was intended to fight the rising tide of resistance, put up widely against the occupation across Iraq.

Asefi stressed that 'the US policy in Iraq is self-interest oriented'.

"It is obvious that America does not think of the Iraqi people's interests; rather, it pursues its own interests," the official added.

"At one juncture, America creates al-Qaeda and then puts them aside, or it supports Saddam and then removes him. Such actions are based on immoral and self-interested concepts," Asefi said, adding 'what is happening in Iraq is in line with the interests of the Americans'.

The official denied media reports about exchange of messages between Tehran and Washington through the Iraqi interim government officials, including Governing Council member Ibrahim Jaafari.

Asefi said contacts between Iran and US, which have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, were held as usual through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which takes of American interests in the Islamic Republic.

The official supported Tehran Municipality's decision to put up a plaque in the capital, denouncing Germany for supplying chemical weapons to the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, who waged a destructive war against Iran between 1980 and 1988.

The decision apparently is a tit-for-tat measure following the installation of a plaque in Berlin, which implicates the Iranian government in the killing of four Iranian dissidents in 1992.

Tehran rejects this claim.

... Payvand News - 5/2/04 ... --

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