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Iranian official warns Europe may lose Iranian market

Vienna, Feb 25, IRNA-Europe could lose the Iranian market and and sustain damage should sanctions be imposed on Iran, an Iranian official warned Friday.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Europe and American Affairs Saeed Jalili, currently in Switzerland upon an invitation of Swiss officials, made the remarks at an interview with the French-language daily Le Temps.

Iran has complied with its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) commitments and the treaty guarantees its right to uranium enrichment for peaceful use, Jalili told the Switzerland-based daily.

There was looming tension when the EU troika (France, Germany and Britain) voted to report Iran's case to the Security Council, the envoy further said in the interview, reiterating that Iran had fully cooperated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by allowing regular inspections and installation of IAEA cameras on its its facilities 30 months ago.

He said the government must cut all relations with the agency should Iran's nuclear case be referred to the Security Council.

"How come no one bothers to ask why the US is allowed to have several nuclear plants when it is rich in oil?," Jalili asked when asked why Iran insists on developing nuclear energy when it has huge oil and gas resources.

Every country has the right to choose its sources of energy and the range includes nuclear energy for sustainable development, he pointed out in the interview.

He brought to mind the move of then prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq of nationalizing Iran's black gold (oil) in 1951, and said that at the time the US and Britain also opposed the initiative and the CIA overthrew the popular government of Mossadeq and acquired control of the country's natural resource.

The US secretary of state in Bill Clinton's administration, Madeleine Albright, apologized for the role the US played in the overthrow of Mossadeq, he said in clear reference to US interference in Iran's internal affairs dating many years back.

"There is no doubt (Iran) plays a significant role in international fora as far as oil is concerned. But its impact on Afghanistan and Iraq and the whole region will be overshadowed by possible pressures and sanctions against Iran," Jalili said in reply to a question on whether Iran would use oil as a weapon if sanctions were imposed.

Iran is a gateway and a bridge between Central Asia and Persian Gulf states, said Jalili, who then warned Europe it could lose its share in the Iranian market and the region as a whole if sanctions were slapped on Iran.

They (Europeans) should be vigilant of plans by the US and Israel to influence them to make decisions against Iran, he concluded the interview.

... Payvand News - 2/26/06 ... --

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