Monday, August 30, 2004

Iran's nuclear program is not for weapons, Tehran says

Iran's nuclear program is not for weapons, Tehran says: "Iran's nuclear program is not for weapons, Tehran says
August 29, 2004 UPDA0829


• Latest: Iran plans to continue its nuclear program but will provide "guarantees" not to build atomic weapons.

Washington claims Iran's nuclear program is aimed at building atomic weapons, but Tehran says it is directed at generating electricity.

"We are ready to do everything necessary to give guarantees that we won't seek nuclear weapons," said Iranian President Muhammad Khatami at a news conference on Saturday.

Explanation: "As Muslims, we can't use nuclear weapons," he said in Tehran. "One who can't use nuclear weapons won't produce them."

He did not elaborate on the nature of the guarantees, but Iran has already agreed to international inspections of its nuclear facilities and military sites.

Khatami's statement marks the first time Tehran has so publicly said it will provide guarantees to ease international concerns about its nuclear program.

Warning: Khatami warned Israel it would be committing "suicide" if it attacked Iran, following recent threats that the Jewish state might take military action to prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb.

On the nuclear issue, Khatami said Iran is entitled to obtain capabilities to go through the full nuclear fuel cycle, from extracting uranium ore to enriching it for use as reactor fuel.

"We don't want anything beyond this. It's our legitimate right and no country can prevent us from achieving it," he said.

Earlier this month, Iran confirmed it had resumed building nuclear centrifuges, which can be used to enrich uranium to weapons grade, and declared it should have the right to advanced nuclear technology.

Washington has been lobbying U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to refer Iran's nuclear dossier to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Khatami said Washington has no evidence to demand U.N. sanctions and urged the IAEA not to bow to U.S. pressure when it discusses Iran's nuclear program next month.

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