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Austrian President: EU does not oppose generation of nuclear energy by Iran

Vienna, April 9, IRNA-Austrian President Heinz Fischer said in Vienna on Thursday European Union does not oppose generation of nuclear energy by Iran and the country is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear facilities for generation of energy.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA Vienna correspondent on Friday, Fischer said agreement should be reached in talks between Iran and the European Union on the issue that both Europe and the world have the right to obtain the guarantees that Iran would not deviate towards production of nuclear arms.

The nuclear talks between Iran and the EU are "very difficult, hard and very critical" because there is concern that in light of peaceful nuclear activities, there would be the possibility for production of Weapons of Mass Destruction, said the president.

Nuclear activities, especially in the region wherein Iran is located, are very sensitive because the Middle East, is a very critical region from the standpoint of global politics, he added.

The issue should also be taken into consideration that Iran lies in neighborhood of Afghanistan, Israel, Syria and Turkey, he said.

Given the condition into consideration, the talks are underway among three European states and Iran, said Fischer, adding, "I believe all facilities should be used for progress in the talks." European Union does not oppose Iran's plan for generation of nuclear energy out of nuclear facilities but the Union is very sensitive that under no condition production of nuclear weapons should be possible, said Fischer.

The Iran-EU talks are very hard with slow pace of progress, said IRNA, asking what a suggestion the president had to reach final agreement.

Fischer said in response, "Under the conditions that talks continue between Iran and EU troika, it would not be wise to raise any proposal, for instance by Austria." European Union members agreed Germany, France and Britain hold talks with Iran on behalf of the Union on the country's nuclear activities and on ways of reaching agreement and it would not be wise to have a fourth or fifth country to interfere in the issue and extend a new proposal, said Fischer.

"As a politician and Austrian president, I would like to say it is highly important for Austria the problem is solved through dialogue and on the negotiation table and a comprehensive solution is speedily found," added Fischer.

It is important for Austria to see Iran-EU relations face a good prospect and that the ongoing talks do not reach a dead end, he said.

Asked whether he recognized Iran's natural right for enrichment of uranium based on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Fischer said, "In my opinion, Iran is entitled to the right to use nuclear energy for generation of electricity." On the other hand, he said, EU has the right to secure the uarantee and confidence that no technical facilities would be used for production of nuclear arms.

The two "rightful and logical" demands, namely Iran's peaceful se of nuclear energy and extension of full guarantees that no measures would be taken for production of nuclear arms, have been raised and ways of meeting the two viewpoints should be the most important subjects under discussion by the two sides, he said.

Some analysts take Iran's nuclear activities a political issue -- as claimed especially by the US -- but not a technical one, said IRNA.

Fischer replied, "The issue that whether peaceful use of nuclear energy can result in secret production of nuclear arms is a highly sensitive political issue." It is neither scientific nor technical, rather something which can entail grave political consequences and impacts, the president went on to say.

Due to the same reason EU is trying through three countries of Germany, Britain and France to find a political solution to a highly sensitive political issue, he added.

Elsewhere in the interview, Fischer hailed "very good" relations between Austria and Iran, saying his country is for further expansion of the relations.

He touched on President Khatami's recent visit to Austria, saying he was the Iranian president having good relations with Vienna.

He hailed President Khatami as a personality who has made great efforts, especially in dialogue and peaceful way of settling problems.

Fischer then said Iran is a highly important economic partner for Austria.

Since Austria would be the periodic chair of EU in the first six months of 2006, it would be important for it be fully informed of all the problems of Iran and due to the same reason President Khatami's Austria visit is of high significance, he added.

Fischer said that given significance of Khatami's Austria visit he had arranged the Iranian president's meetings with the Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel, Speaker of Parliament Andrias Cohel, Austrian Archbishop and Foreign Minister.

Iran knows that Austria is a country favoring peace and has not had any hostile or unfriendly objective against any other country, he added.

The president also called for Tehran-Vienna cooperation in the academic, cultural, economic and trade fields, exchange of visits, mutual investment, and dissemination of information.

Asked about impact of the EU enlargement on regional and bilateral relations with Iran, Fischer said he did not think the EU expansion would leave any negative or positive impact on relations with Iran because relations between Iran and the EU members, especially Austria, are stable.

"We (Iran and Austria) are not rivals and cooperate with each other economically, trying to promote the ties and keep them at a very good level," concluded Fischer.

... Payvand News - 4/9/05 ... --

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