Sunday, October 03, 2004

Europe should understand the mood in Iran: FM spokesman

Description of Selected News: "Europe should understand the mood in Iran: FM spokesman

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- The Europeans should understand the mood in Iran and move in the direction of recognizing Iran’s legitimate right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy through mutual respect and understanding, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters on Sunday. Asked about the moves by some MPs pushing for a resumption of the uranium enrichment program and the contradiction between this proposal and the Iran-EU dialogue, Asefi said, “This plan is just in the preliminary stages, but if the parliament passes a bill and the Guardian Council approves it, the government must obey the decision.”

In an attempt to prove its goodwill, Iran has voluntarily suspended the enrichment of uranium and signed the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which allows for snap inspections of its nuclear activities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors adopted a resolution last month demanding Iran freeze all activities related to uranium enrichment.

Asefi shrugged off efforts to have Tehran's nuclear case sent to the UN Security Council, saying it was confident the next report of the world nuclear watchdog on Tehran's nuclear program next month would be positive.

He said that all major questions about Iran's case have been answered and only a few minor issues remain which are also solvable.

"We believe there is no ambiguity in our file, which is the subject of our dialogue with the (International Atomic Energy) Agency and there remain only one or two minor issues which are solvable," he said. ----------Iran calls proposal to forgo nuclear fuel technology ‘illogical’

Asefi said that it is illogical to ask Tehran to give up its capability to enrich uranium and instead purchase nuclear fuel from Western countries.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has suggested providing Iran with nuclear fuel to generate electricity if Iran agreed to give up its work on the nuclear fuel cycle.

In the first presidential debate with U.S. President George W. Bush, Kerry said the United States should have joined a British-French-German initiative aimed at convincing Iran to agree to stop activities related to the enrichment of uranium.

Asefi said this proposal was only a campaign ploy which should not be taken seriously.

“There is no logic in this proposal. When we ourselves have this technology why should we acquire it from others? They should give it (nuclear fuel) to those who do not possess this technology,” Asefi told reporters.

“One should not put his fate in the hands of others, and we do not need such generosity and help,” he noted.

He went on to say that there would be no guarantee that they would continue providing fuel and would not one day cut off the fuel supply.

Nuclear fuel cycle work for peaceful purposes is permitted according to the provisions of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory. -------Iran welcomes any initiative that helps stabilize Iraq

Iran welcomes any initiative that would help stabilize the war-torn Iraq and that it intended to take part in an international conference on Iraq scheduled to take place in Egypt.

"Principally, we feel no problem to take part in the conference but the details on our participation will be announced later," the spokesman added.

“At what level we will take part is something which should be studied," Asefi added.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry announced Saturday it will host the international conference during the last week of November. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said the conference should be attended by the G8 group of industrialized nations as well as Iraq's neighbors including Iran and Syria. -------Iran warns Iraq of Israeli agents in Kurdish north

Iran said Sunday that although it wasn’t able to confirm reports that Israeli agents have been operating in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq, Iraqi officials should “pay attention”.

“Regarding the presence of Israeli forces in northern Iraq, we have also heard some things,” Asefi said as quoted by Aljazeera net.

“We hope this news is a lie and that Iraqi officials pay attention to the sensitivities of neighboring countries,” he warned, adding the matter was the subject of “protests” by several states on the sidelines of an Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) gathering in Turkey. Although Asefi said “our proof is only based on reports”, he warned that any Israeli presence in northern Iraq “is not something that the Islamic and regional nations would accept, because Israel is an enemy of the region.”

On Saturday, Mustafa Feki, a leading Egyptian MP charged that Israel had taken advantage of the U.S. war on Iraq and the political turmoil in the country, to deploy large numbers of it agents there to spy on Iran and Syria. -------Iran says freed diplomat has no news of kidnapped French journalists

Asefi said that the Iranian diplomat freed by kidnappers in Iraq last week had no information on two French journalists believed to have been taken hostage by the same group.

"Our freed diplomat had no information about the French hostages, although… God willing they will be freed soon," Asefi told reporters.

Iranian diplomat Fereydun Jahani was freed last week after being held for 55 days by a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq.

The same Iraqi group is believed to be holding French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who went missing along with their Syrian driver on August 20.
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