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Iranian delegation holds wide-ranging talks in Paris

Paris, Jan 20, IRNA -- An Iranian delegation outlined the country's peaceful nuclear activities and Tehran's role in the Middle East developments in a meeting with several deputies of the French National Assembly and EU representatives in Paris on Wednesday evening.

Head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council's foreign policy committee, Hossein Mousavian, attended the session, held on the initiative the French National Assembly's Defense and Security Commission.

The head of the French commission described Iran's role as important, saying the country's developments could affect the entire Middle East region.

The official touched on nuclear negotiations held between Iran and the European troika of France, Germany and Britain, saying the policy of dialogue with the Islamic Republic is very important.

Mousavian stressed the need for pushing ahead Iran's cooperation with France and other members of the European Union (EU).

Outlining the political and security situation of the Middle East, he said, "Terrorism does not distinguish the rich from the poor and tackling it, as among current problems of the world community, demands a global will."

The rootcause of terrorism, Mousavian said, must be sought in 'unfavorable' economic and social situation of the countries and unjust policies which prevail in the world.

The official cited terrorism, illegal drugs and organized crime among challenges which require international coordination to fight.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to fight out these problems in cooperation with France and the European Union at the international, regional and bilateral levels," Mousavian said.

Deputy Foreign Minister for political and international affairs, Gholamali Khoshru, outlined Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and the country's coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He said the repeated inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities by IAEA inspectors attests further to the peaceful nature of Tehran's activities.

Khoshru highlighted IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei's acknowledgement of Iran's civilian activities in his recent report, saying, "Nonetheless, certain false reports published in the press have created misunderstanding in this regard."

He said Iran believes in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the international laws as well as its religious teachings which prohibit development of weapons of mass destruction.

"Existing worries regarding Iran's nuclear activities do not correspond with the realities and such worries are no more than fantasies, while Iran's commitments and its steps are all concrete, practical and tangible."

Iran's Ambassador to France, Sadeq Kharrazi, took up the note to state that there exists a discrimination towards the country's nuclear program.

He called this 'unacceptable', demanding that Israel's nuclear activities be accordingly supervised and its atomic facilities inspected.

Kharrazi stressed the importance which Tehran attaches to its nuclear negotiations with the Europeans, saying, "What is important is the tangible outcome of these talks."

The official noted that 'security in the Middle East without active engagement and participation of Iran will make no sense and Tehran's efforts for establishing peace and tranquility in the region are strategic."

The Iranian delegation arrived in Paris Wednesday morning to take up the country's nuclear negotiations with the Europeans.

The Europeans, represented by the 'EU three big', are in the midst of crucial talks with Iran aimed at finding a long-term solution that would allay concerns.

The talks have found added momentum following Iran's agreement last November to suspend uranium enrichment activities in return for a package of incentives, including EU's assistance in the construction of a light-water power reactor in Iran.

Tehran insists that its nuclear program is solely aimed at power generation and strongly rejects US claims that the program is a front for building atomic bombs.

The EU incentives reportedly include a guaranteed supply of reactor fuel, assistance to construction of a light-water power reactor and a resumption of stalled trade talks.

Several rounds of talks on a mutual trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) had been held between the two sides before Iran's nuclear issue was catapulted into the center of their talks.

The EU-Iran talks began after President Mohammad Khatami came to power in May 1997, with the EU taking up a policy of 'comprehensive dialogue' with the Islamic Republic in the form of biannual troika meetings on political and economic issues.

The political part of the dialogue covers issues regarding conflicts, including in the Middle East, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights and terrorism.

On the economic front, the European Union is exploring possibilities for cooperation with Iran in energy, trade and investment as well as refugees and drugs control.

The EU is Iran's biggest trading partner, with oil accounting for over 80 percent of Tehran's exports to the EU. Iran also sells agricultural products -- mainly pistachios -- as well as textiles and carpets to the EU.

... Payvand News - 1/20/05 ... --

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