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Conference on Iran's foreign policy in Durham, England

Durham, England, March 28, IRNA-Academics from several countries gathered in the north-east English city of Durham Monday for a two day conference on Iran's Foreign Policy since the Islamic Revolution.

The conference, organised by the Centre for Iranian Studies at Durham University, was opened by Iranian Ambassador to London, Mohammad Hossein Adeli, who spoke of the changing dynamics of his country's foreign policy.

He outlined that foreign policy was based on an understanding of world realities and adopting approaches that take into account self- interest as well as ideals and aspirations .

Pragmatism, expediency and prudence characterised Iran's foreign " policy," Adeli said, highlighting such examples as the country's approach to Afghanistan, Iraq and security in the Persian Gulf.

In subsequent questions and answers, the ambassador corrected the misconceptions about support for the country's nuclear programme, saying that "public opinion was in favour of nuclear technology not nuclear weapons." Also speaking at the opening session, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lamont, emphasised that the domestic and ideological influences needed to be understood in the formation of Iran's foreign policy .

Iran had legitimate security concerns and a strong sense of "national identity," he told the conference. There were also competing influences from various institutions in Tehran, he also said .

Lamont, who now chairs the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce, also spoke about the current concerns about Iran's nuclear programme, but emphasised that the country had "perfectly legitimate aspirations for civilian nuclear power." Other keynote speakers at the conference included Professor meritus of the University of Virginia in the US, Rouhollah Ramezani, and Professor Ali Reza Sheikholeslami from Oxford University, as well as distinguished academics from Iran and other UK universities .

The programme, thought to be the first of its kind, is looking at the ideological and domestic interaction with Iran's foreign policy nd also aspects of foreign relations with Europe, the US and other Middle East countries .

... Payvand News - 3/28/05 ... --

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