Iran News ...


02/09/11

Ashton's remarks about Iran's nuclear program baseless: ambassador

Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaii, said on Tuesday that the remarks by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton about the nature of Iran's nuclear program are "baseless".

Khazaii made the remarks in a statement read out at the meeting of UN Security Council on Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ashton told the UN meeting that the Iranian nuclear issue "affects the landscape of the wider Middle East, and indeed global security," europa-eu-un.org reported.

"The fundamental problem is that we do not have confidence that the Iranian nuclear program is purely civilian in nature. Regrettably, our concrete proposals to build confidence and transparency were met by an Iranian request that we should first recognize Iran's right to the entire fuel cycle, including enrichment and a lifting of sanctions," she added.

"That was disappointing. As this council has underlined on several occasions, Iran is at present not complying with various obligations under the NPT," Ashton claimed.

Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) held talks on January 20 and 21 in Istanbul. The negotiations failed to yield any concrete results.

Addressing the UN meeting, Khazaii stated, "The nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are peaceful and will continue to be peaceful. And this has been repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency."

Iran has declared many times that it is fully committed to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is determined to continue its cooperation with the IAEA, Khazaii added.

"Moreover, our country is firm to defend its legitimate right to use nuclear energy meant for peaceful purposes which has been stipulated in the NPT," the Iranian ambassador asserted.

He also said that the 5+1 group must acknowledge Iran's right to uranium enrichment and a nuclear fuel cycle.

Khazaii added, "The Islamic Republic of Iran has always announced its readiness for a continuation of talks based on mutual understanding and respect."

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