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Iran Condemns 'Propaganda' Against its Nuclear Program

By Lisa Schlein, VOA, Geneva

Iran's foreign minister has condemned what he calls exaggerated and unjustified propaganda against his country's nuclear program. In a speech Thursday to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, the minister lashed out at Western countries for misleading the international community about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In his speech to the U.N. Conference on Disarmament, Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, told delegates that his country's nuclear program is peaceful and has never engaged in prohibited activities. He said the nuclear non-proliferation treaty gave Iran the right to develop its nuclear program for peaceful purposes and it was determined to do so.

The United States and European countries accuse Iran of working to develop a nuclear bomb. Iran denies this.

Minister Mottaki condemned Western countries for taking the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council after three years of negotiations failed to reach an agreement.

"A hasty decision to involve the Security Council with Iran's case is yet another indication of political maneuvering by some Western countries. I announce in no uncertain terms that reporting Iran's file to the Security Council is, in our view, an abuse of international mechanism, misguided, legally unwarranted and clearly unacceptable to the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.

While the Iranian foreign minister was speaking to the U.N. conference, foreign ministers from Germany and the five permanent members of the Security Council were meeting in Berlin for discussions on Iran's nuclear program.

On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council approved a statement giving Iran 30 days to suspend its uranium enrichment or face tougher measures.

Mottaki told reporters in Geneva that Iran was willing to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. He said Iran would welcome any suggestions that would guarantee its right to have access to peaceful nuclear technology.

He said Iran was looking forward to a diplomatic solution to the problem, but was prepared for possible sanctions over its nuclear program.

"As far as economic matters are concerned, we have expanded our capacity in different fields in recent years, and we have demonstrated our promise, if you will in those fields... After the victory of the Islamic revolution up to the '90s and after the '90's in another form, my country has contended with sanctions in way or the other. So, for all practical purposes, even as we speak my country has readied itself, acclimated, if I can use that word in dealing with sanctions...Having said that, I don't think that the possibility exists," Mottaki said.

Mottaki called the decision by the Western powers to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council an example of injustice and power politics.

... Payvand News - 3/31/06 ... --

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