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Majority of Iranians want nuclear fuel cycle capability

Durham, England, March 23, IRNA-A majority of Iranians want their country to develop a fuel cycle capability but not go further to acquire nuclear weapons, a conference on Iran's foreign policy since the Islamic revolution was told here.

Professor of Law and Political Science at Tehran University, Nasser Hadian, said that many Iranians argue that "having nuclear weapons was not going to increase security."

The reasons against were that it would "generate an arms race in the region" and put other countries in the regions in a "security- driven relationship with the US," which were against Iran's interests, he said.

The nuclear issue was discussed during a session on relations with the United States at a two-day conference on Iran's foreign policy, which opened at Durham University in northern England on Monday.

Other grounds for Iran not to develop nuclear weapons were the cost, the sophisticated command and communications required and the fears about nuclear terrorism, Hadian said.

He predicted that Iran probably would end negotiations with the European Union aimed at developing a long-term arrangement on Iran's nuclear programme and continue its legitimate right to develop a fuel cycle if there was "no tangible improvement" in its offers.

Shahriyar Sabet Saedi from Durham University said that the EU's relations with Iran were "valuable" and offered "major economic benefits." But presenting an American dimension on Iran-EU relations, he suggested that the relationship was "not strategic" because of the huge gap with the US.

Anastasia Drenou from Edinburgh University in Scotland spoke of the complexities in EU-Iran relations, highlighting the differences with the US that led to a bitter confrontation between Washington and Brussels over American extra-territorial sanctions.

Former British diplomat Chris Rundle, who is now an Honorary Fellow at Durham University, outlined a historical perspective of the UK's recent relations with Iran that led to the full respiration of diplomatic relations in 1998.

The dispute over the recent seizure of three British patrol boats that entered Iranian waters last year showed that "relations are strong enough not to be blow off course by such incidents," he told the conference.

Michael Axworthy, who is currently on leave from the British Foreign Office to complete a biography on Nadir Shah, gave a first- hand view of diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran between 1997 and 2000.

The conference on Iran's foreign policy was concluded Tuesday with papers on relations with Asian and Arab countries, on oil resources and a discussion on the Kurds.

... Payvand News - 3/23/05 ... --

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