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UN chief, Iranian official hold "positive" nuclear talks

TEHRAN, Sept. 2 (Mehr News Agency) - Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Larijani on Saturday called "positive" the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's views on Iran's nuclear issue and said Tehran supports this view for settling the nuclear standoff between Iran and certain western countries.

"Annan has a positive perspective and we support his views," Larijani told the reporters after talks with Annan.

Annan arrived here on Saturday for a two-day visit as part of his Middle East tour aimed at shoring up support for the UN Resolution 1701 on Lebanon.

"We agreed that continued negotiations would be the best option for settling the nuclear issue," Larijani added.

The Iranian security chief voiced hope that Annan would use his power to help resolve the standoff created over Iran's nuclear program by the U.S. propaganda.

Larijani said Iran responded to the nuclear package proposed by five permanent Security Council members plus Germany upon Annan's recommendations.

"Mr. Annan's responsibility concerning regional developments and the nuclear issue is acute and we need continuous consultations."

Annan also called his talks with Larijani "positive and constructive."

"I have just had very good and constructive discussions with Mr. Larijani," Annan told the short news conference.

The UN chief also said they discussed Iran's nuclear program, as well as other issues of mutual interest.

"These discussions were useful which will help me in the future" Annan said as quoted by the Mehr News Agency.

"The Middle East keeps me and the UN quite busy and we therefore, need Iran's help and support," Annan said.

Annan also held separate talks with Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Rafsanjani told Annan that Iran's dealing with negotiating partners is based on the "NPT regulations."

"We will make use of our rights as we observe rules and international regulations," the expediency council chairman stressed.

Rafsanjani called illogical suspension of nuclear enrichment activities as a precondition for resumption of talks, adding that "Iran has always been ready for talks but this precondition is unacceptable by any just person. According to international treaties and the UN charter the Security Council cannot deprive Iran of this (enrichment) right."

Annan said the UN will make efforts to resolve the nuclear issue peacefully.

"Through patience and goodwill there will be ways out of the impasse," the secretary general told Rafsanjani.

On Lebanon crisis the chief international diplomat said all countries should do their best to resolve the issue.

Annan also discussed Iran's nuclear program with Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki. The minister told the visiting secretary general that Iran favors nuclear dialogue.

"We welcome negotiations but building confidence is not a one-way road," Mottaki said.

The foreign minister also blamed the UN for having delayed the ceasefire in Lebanon, saying the delay allowed Israel continue its attacks.

Annan is to meet President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei today.

Focus on worrying situation in Middle East

Annan said that his negotiations with Iranian officials have focused on 'the worrying situation in the Middle East'.

He told IRNA that he expected his negotiations would help ease tension in the Middle East which is alarming for the international community.

"My visit to Iran aims to survey the latest events in Lebanon and ways to enforce the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 about Israeli conflict with Lebanon."

... Payvand News - 9/3/06 ... --

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