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Senior Iranian nuclear negotiator: Iran seeks cooperation not collision with international community

Antwerp, Belgium, Nov 10, IRNA-"The international community has been to a great extent misled with biased, politicized and exaggerated information on Iranian nuclear programs and activities," a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator told a gathering of Belgian university students in Antwerp Wednesday evening.

"Iranian nuclear issues which should have been dealt with in a purely technical manner within the framework of the IAEA has been politicized," added Ali Asghar Soltanieh, deputy director-general of the International Political Affairs Department of the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Soltanieh was speaking at a discussion organized by the Flemish Association for the United Nations, the Peace Center of Antwerp and the University of Antwerp on the topic "Iran Going Nuclear: On a Collision Course With the International Community."

He explained that the disinformation campaign against Iran's nuclear program was aimed at diverting the international community's attention from immediate and serious security concerns arising from the existence of a huge number of nuclear warheads.

Other factors, the Iranian diplomat cited, were recent developments including the manufacture of new types of nuclear weapons by two nuclear weapon states and, last but not least, the potential nuclear threat from Israel, the only non-party to the NPT in the strategic region of the Middle East.

"Iran is for cooperation and not collision with the international community. Iran is determined to continue its full cooperation with the IAEA provided Iran is not deprived of its inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including the nuclear fuel cycle," stressed Soltanieh, a former ambassador of Iran to the Vienna-based IAEA.

In his impressive presentation to the audience of over 110 students of law and international political science, he reviewed Iran's past, present and future nuclear policy and programs, and referred to various IAEA documents and inspection reports.

He said the letter that Iran sent recently to the EU-3 was a "positive signal" that the Islamic Republic was ready to remove possible ambiguities in its nuclear activities through dialogue.

Soltanieh, however, warned that if Iran's nuclear dossier is moved from Vienna to the UNSC in New York, Tehran will stop its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT and end voluntary suspension of uranium conversion and enrichment.

He, however, clarified that Iran will not leave the NPT.

The discussion was moderated by Belgian TV journalist Jan Balliauw, who said Iran will hit the headlines later this month when the IAEA Board of Governors meets to discuss whether to refer it to the Security Council or not.

Werner Bauwens, director for disarmament and non-proliferation in the Belgian Foreign Ministry, said Iran is a test case for the EU's common foreign policy.

He described Iran as a "very important" country with great potentials, saying it was significant for the EU to develop a political dialogue with Tehran.

The senior Belgian diplomat urged Iran to have "pro-active cooperation with the IAEA and fuller transparency."

For his part, Tom Sauer, professor of international politics at the Universities of Antwerp and Leuven, accused Iran of "cheating" and of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program.

In the lively question-and-answer session, Soltanieh replied to questions related to Iran's nuclear program and other foreign policy issues.

He noted that the word "concealment," which was first used by the US and later by the IAEA secretariat in its reports on Iran, "are absolutely incorrect and misleading."

The background of Wednesday's event was a simulation the Flemish Association for the United Nations is organizing in Brussels for presentation on December 1.

The fictitious topic of the simulation will be a possible referral of the Iranian nuclear program to the Security Council.

Participating Belgian students, through several activities, will be thoroughly prepared for the actual simulation in December.

The event in Antwerp was one of those activities.

... Payvand News - 11/10/05 ... --

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