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Iranian FM talks about relations with U.S.

Excerpts of Mottaki's interview with al-Arabiya TV

Tehran, May 7, IRNA - Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in an interview with Al-Arabiya television gave perspective for Iran-US talks.

The interview was held on the sidelines of the International Conference on Iraqi security held in Sharm el-Sheikh on May 3-4.

Asked about reasons he did not meet with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice, he said that several questions are being raised about Iran-US talks, showing significance of the case.

"It is extremely clear that there are various issues for bilateral talks."

He added, "Issues between the two countries are divided into two categories. One, includes bilateral issues with important topics and the other, is common issues in the region and particularly in Iraq.

"Bilateral issues between the two countries require the US to change its policies it adopted during the past 27 years (after victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979).

"Washington should amend its policies, establish logical, principled and fair ties with Iran and compensate for the losses it inflicted on Tehran."

Mottaki said Iran has reservations about US tendency to hold talks with Iranian officials, because "we have not seen necessary determination from Washington.

He noted that continued allegations against Iran, ignorance of the mistakes the US has committed in Iraq and lack of Washington's serious determination to correct mistakes were the best reasons for the Iranian reservations.

The minister stated that studies carried out by the US experts on Iraq including the Baker-Hamilton Iraqi Study Group in particular proved failure of the US policies on Iraq.

"The US should explicitly recognize the situation in Iraq without making Iran a scapegoat ahead of making arrangements for fair talks with Iran," he said.

"Talks between the two ministers need basic works and arrangements."

He said that by the time basic works are carried out about Iraq, Iran is ready to cooperate with the Iraqi government and all sides are willing to settle problems in the country.

Asked whether Mottaki would be ready to hold talks with the US at the foreign ministerial level on Iraq, if Washington shows goodwill and more readiness, he said, "The US officials were required to make preliminaries for such talks.

"No official meeting was held between Iran and US during the Sharm el-Sheikh conference. There are several ways to convey messages and stances between the two countries."

The minister rejected any link between Iran's help for the US on Iraq and its peaceful nuclear program, saying, "Iran's nuclear program and Iraq are two separate issues.

"Iran has a clear stance on its peaceful nuclear program, because it makes efforts to restore its legal rights and at the same time Tehran is ready to give answer to any question in this regard." He said that Iran is ready to hold talks on nuclear case without any precondition and achieve a broad-based formula.

On developments in Iraq, Mottaki said Iran has always expressed its readiness to take additional steps to support the Iraqi government and nation.

He stressed that regional and international meetings on Iraq should focus on providing help to the Iraqi nation and government.

He said legal governments in Iraq should be supported because they represent resistance of the Iraqi people and their efforts to establish democracy in their country.

Pointing to his talks with his Saudi counterpart Saud al-Faisal in Sharm el-Sheikh on Lebanon, Mottaki said he believes that any resolution for Lebanon should come from inside the country.

Iran always backs a consensus among Lebanese political parties and believes the country's problems should be settled by its own nation, Mottaki said.

"Regional countries can help bring views of Lebanese political groups closer to each other. Iran and Saudi Arabia have the common views."

Asked about Iran's nuclear activities, the minister said, "Production of industrial-scale fuel is on the agenda. Iran's nuclear activities are carried out legally under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

"The Security Council should not act contrary to the UN goals.

We believe that talks will be the best means to build confidence on nuclear program."

... Payvand News - 5/7/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/7/07 ... --

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