Iran calls for tolerance
Sep 2, 2003
Iran has called on the United Nations to avoid international pressure to stage a crackdown over its nuclear programme. An official for the country said it believed that goodwill from all parties could resolve the issue. Iran has said it is ready to negotiate on signing the so-called Additional Protocol that would allow snap inspections of its nuclear facilities. The United States says those facilities are part of a nuclear weapons programme. Iran strongly denies the charge. The UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said in a confidential report that Iran had improved co-operation. But it felt there were still questions about weapons-grade uranium found at a site in Iran. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said: "Some countries are about to exert pressure and the agency (IAEA) should not let it happen. "If the other side shows goodwill and if the other side has honesty, I don't think it is an issue that cannot be solved." He said Iran had already shown goodwill by allowing the IAEA to take samples and by announcing it was ready to start negotiations on the protocol. But he said ambiguities still had to be cleared up. European Union officials have said Iran should agree to more checks if it wants to maintain good ties with the 15-nation bloc, a key Iranian trading partner. US officials have said Washington wants the issue of Iran's nuclear program sent to the UN Security Council. Iran has said it wants clarifications about some sovereignty aspects in the protocol, a move analysts have said could create delays in signing up to more intrusive checks. The country says its nuclear program is purely civilian and that nuclear facilities are needed to meet booming demand for electricity so it can keep the country's massive oil and gas reserves for exports.
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posted on 09/02/2003 12:51:31 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
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