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Iran awaiting U.S. response on Iraq talks: spokesman

TEHRAN, Jan. 6 (Mehr News Agency) - Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said here on Sunday that Iran is awaiting U.S. response to Tehran's preconditions for holding new talks over security situation in Iraq.


Iran has agreed in principle to hold the fourth round of negotiations with the United States, but there were some concerns about which Iran has informed the Iraqi officials so that they would convey them to the U.S., Hosseini told reporters in a weekly press briefing.


Among these conditions is that Tehran wants assurances that the United States will abide by the results of the talks before holding a new meeting, added the spokesman.


Iran expels German diplomat


Hosseini confirmed a report that Iran has expelled a German diplomat for "undiplomatic" behavior.


"Responsible authorities recognized that this person was engaged in undiplomatic behavior and had to leave Iran," he explained.


Legal migrants to stay in Iran


The Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "There would be no problem for those foreign citizens including Afghans who have legal and official permit for entrance, residence, and work in Iran."


However, he asserted that the Islamic Republic will treat illegal migrants according to "international standards."


"The Iranian nation and government have always stood by Afghans but these illegal migrations should not be allowed to continue," Hosseini observed.


Iran to open embassy in Bolivia


Iran has planned to open its embassy in Bolivia in order to further expand comprehensive relations with the South American nation, Hosseini said.

The initiative is in the legal process, added the spokesman.


 Velayati, Sarkozy met 3 months ago


Hosseini confirmed reports that former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati had held a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy three months ago.


 Iran seeking to join UN Security Council


Hosseini said Iran is making efforts to gain a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council.


UN non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms starting on January 1, with five replaced each year. The members are chosen by regional groups and confirmed by the UN General Assembly.


"Membership in the Security Council is on our agenda for the next year; of course another (Asian) country has also made the same request," he explained.


Al Attiya remarks "unprincipled"


The spokesman criticized the "unprincipled stance" of PGCC Secretary General Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al Attiya about the ownership of three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf.


Al Attiya said on December 16 that the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council is "looking forward to enhancing cooperation with Iran. However, we should bear in mind that Iran is occupying three UAE islands. Without settling this dispute either by international arbitration or direct negotiation with the UAE, we will not enhance cooperation with Iran."


Hosseini responded, "These repetitious claims will not affect the nature of Iran's absolute sovereignty over the three islands."


Iran not to restore ties with U.S.


Hosseini ruled out the possibility of resuming diplomatic relations with the United States so long as Washington continues its hostile behavior toward Iran.


"Keeping in view the U.S. hostile policy towards Iran, we have no plan for normalizing ties with the United States."


The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Thursday that Iran sees "no benefit" in restoring ties with the United States at the moment but a resumption of relations in the future is possible.


"Cutting ties with the United States is one of our basic policies. We have never said that they will be cut for ever," AP quoted the Supreme Leader as saying.


"The conditions of the U.S. government are such now that it is harmful for us to resume relations," he said, describing the United States as a global "danger".


"The day that relations with the United States are beneficial to the Iranian nation, I will be the first one to approve of that," the Supreme Leader stated.


Hosseini said Tehran is prepared to expand relations with all countries except the Zionist regime, however, he argued that since the Islamic Revolution the U.S. has adopted "hostile policies" towards Iran.

... Payvand News - 01/06/08 ... --

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