Iran News ...


US, EU, Russia urge Iran to stop enrichment and return to talks

Berlin, Feb 22, IRNA - The United States, the European Union and Russia have called on Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities and return to the negotiation table, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in Berlin on Thursday.

"We reconfirmed that we will use our available channels and the Security Council to achieve that goal and it is to get Iran back to negotiations once they suspend their enrichment activities," Rice announced after talks with her German and Russian counterparts Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

"We have the common goal to encourage Iran back to the bargaining table. The point of Security Council action has always been to try to get to a negotiating track," she added.

The top American, Russian, German and EU diplomats discussed Iran's compliance with a UN Security Council Resolution which demands halting enriching uranium.

Rice stressed the group took no decisions Thursday morning because the Iran report of the International Atomic Energy was due to be released later in the day.

The US official who attended the Mideast quartet meeting in Berlin on Wednesday, reiterated earlier Iran could pave the way for direct talks, if it stops its nuclear enrichment program.

She added Tehran had not acceded to the demands of the international community.

Rice said if Iran ceases uranium enrichment she would meet with her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki 'anywhere he wants'.

The US official's remarks followed earlier statements by Tehran, stressing the peaceful nature of its civilian nuclear program.

As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has complied with rules and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and opened its nuclear facilities to inspectors of the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said last week Tehran was ready to address the remaining concerns of western countries over its nuclear program.

"It is the political will of the government to have a negotiated settlement of this case ... through constructive dialogue," Larijani was quoted as saying at last weekend's high-profile Munich security conference.

Larijani told the security meeting that Tehran had the right to peaceful nuclear technology and that his country's uranium enrichment activities were solely aimed at research and development.

"In Iran's national security doctrine there is no room for atomic and chemical weapons ...," added Larijani.

He stressed that 'irrational preconditions' such as western demands that Iran must suspend uranium enrichment before coming to the negotiating table, were a hindrance to resolving the nuclear dispute.

"This misguided approach has not solved the problem," the Iranian official stressed.

Boroujerdi: We are ready to build confidence within int'l rules

Madrid, Feb 22, IRNA - Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Thursday in a press conference that Iran, by safeguarding its legal nuclear rights, is ready to build confidence about the peaceful nature of its nuclear drive.

Speaking at the end of his four-day visit to Madrid, he said negotiations within NPT protocol and IAEA international regulations is the best and only option to put an end to Iran's nuclear standoff.

"If the UNSC is to issue another resolution to force us suspend our peaceful nuclear activities, that would make it impossible," he said declaring, "Iran never yield to any threats and imposing sanctions will not create any obstacle to our legal activities." UNSC should refer Iran's nuclear dossier to IAEA to let the parties involved resolve the issue, he said.

He reiterated that Western countries are free to cooperate in the construction of atomic power plants in Iran.

Cooperation of western countries in construction of nuclear power plants in Iran can provide them the confidence that Iran's nuclear activities are of peaceful nature, he said.

"We have invited representatives and reporters from foreign countries to closely observe our nuclear installations to help remove doubts about the peaceful nature of our nuclear activities," he said.

"The doors of our nuclear installations are open to all and we are the only country in the world which acts with so explicitly in this respect," he said.

Iran never seeks anything beyond its legitimate rights as endorsed in the Article four of NPT, he pointed out.

"We are against nuclear bombs and have called for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and that is why we have joined the NPT and observe its rules and regulations," he said.

"To demonstrate the extent to which we are to ready to build confidence with the West, we have let the IAEA install more cameras in our nuclear installations," he said.

Since Iran is to conduct its nuclear activities within NPT and IAEA rules and regulations, the recent UNSC resolution which issued under US pressure is of no use, he said.

"We are ready to continue negotiations and reach mutual understanding but we will never tolerate any unreasonable words," he said.

Boroujerdi, heading a parliamentary delegation, arrived in Madrid on Monday for a three-day visit to discuss the Iran nuclear issue with senior Spanish officials.

Diplomacy only viable solution to Iran dispute, says Blair

London, Feb 22, IRNA - Prime Minister Tony Blair Thursday distanced himself from Washington's psychological warfare against Iran, saying diplomacy was the only "viable" way to resolve the dispute over Tehran's peaceful nuclear program.

Diplomacy is the "only solution anyone can think of that is viable and sensible," he said during a lengthy interview on foreign policy with BBC Radio Four's Today program.

"There is, as far as I know, no planning going on to make an attack on Iran and people are pursuing a diplomatic and political solution for a very good reason," Blair said.

When pressed, he said he knew of "nobody" in Washington who was planning for a military attack and also denied that President George W Bush's administration was encouraging the Zionist regime to do so.

"Iran is not Iraq," the British premier emphasized.

During his interview, Blair remained defiant, refusing to apologize for the security situation in Iraq caused by the joint US-UK invasion.

"I don't think we should be apologizing at all for what we are doing in Iraq. We're trying to support the democrats against the terrorists," he said.

"I don't think we should be apologizing because we're not causing the terrorism. It's being caused by internal extremists who are linking up with external extremists," the British leader said.

Larijani: Talks should be in the framework of IAEA

Rome, Feb 21, IRNA - Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani said here talks about Iran's nuclear program must be only in the framework of IAEA and upon a joint paradigm.

Speaking to reporters at Rome airport, Larijani called his latest negotiations with Belgian foreign minister and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Muhamed ElBaradei 'constructive and useful'.

He added, "We had long discussions with Dr. ElBaradei concerning nuclear talks and finding ways to solve the issue in a logical and wise manner." Of course, sending the dossier to the UN Security Council and issuing a resolution, has increased the dossier's political dimension, Larijani continued.

He said, "Dr. ElBaradei and I both believe that this issue should be solved in principle in the agency, because IAEA is a supervisional body and a center of professional work in this concern." Larijani stressed that the issue has its own complexity, but if the sides can reach an agreement upon NPT, then the talks could continue and could be constructive.

But a negotiation without a joint paradigm can lead to an unsatisfactory situation, he continued.

Larijani concluded, naturally, Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), IAEA's charter and regulation are the main principles of the joint paradigm.

Iran to pursue nuclear activities under IAEA supervision - Mottaki

Istanbul, Feb 22, IRNA - Iranian Foreign Minster said here Wednesday night Iran would pursue its peaceful nuclear activities within framework of IAEA regulations, ready for answering any questions and eliminating any ambiguities through negotiations.

Manouchehr Mottaki made the comment at a press conference on important regional issues, Tehran-Ankara relations, and Islamic Republic of Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

He added, "Last week Mr. Solana said in a meeting with Mr. Larijani that EU is ready for resuming negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, and Iran, too, welcomed that proposal."

Pointing out that the previous round of talks were halted due to political reasons, the Iranian Foreign Minister said, "We hope the new round of negotiations would be the continuation of the previously achieved results, and that there would be sufficient strong will for chieving tangible results in both sides."

Focusing on US policies regarding Iran's peaceful nuclear program, he said, "The United States is not in a position today to impose another crisis against the US tax payers."

Mottaki added, "There have from the beginning been two options regarding Iran's nuclear program: confrontation and clashes, or interactions and cooperation. An we have readied ourselves for both, keeping in mind the region's high sensitivities, stressing that negotiations and cooperation are our preferred option."

He reiterated, "Today all world countries, including the Americans, say that Iran's nuclear issues need to be tackled through holding talks, and peacefully."

Referring to his past two days' talks with his Turkish counterpart, that country's President, Prime Minister, and Foreign Trade Minister, he said, "Various regional political issues were discussed in those meetings."

Mottaki said, "On Iraq, we believe the territorial integrity, national unity, stability, and security need to be safeguarded in that ountry, and we believe Iraq's security needs to be restored relying on raqi Government's management, although the foreign forces present there, too, are responsible for the matter."

He added, "We meanwhile believe Iraq's neighbors, too, must contribute to restoration of stability and security in Iraq, since the course of violence and brutality would lead to no tangible results for the Iraqi nation and for Iraq's neighbors."

On internal clashes in Iraq, Mottaki said, "The United States and Britain are the designers of disputes and clashes between the Shi'a and Sunni Muslims in Iraq, and they have organized the sectarian clashes there for sure, while the Iraqi people, including the Shi'as, the Sunnis, the Kurds, the Turkmen, and the others, have lived peacefully side by side for centuries."

... Payvand News - 2/22/07 ... --

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