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Iran pres. candidates debate foreign policy

Updated: 2013-06-08 11:14
( Xinhua)

TEHRAN - Iranian presidential candidates are divided over the country's foreign policy in their third and final televised live debate on Friday.

Saeed Jalili, a hardline principlist candidate, said that in international relations, the interests of the country will regulate the foreign policy of the Islamic republic.

Iran pres. candidates debate foreign policy

Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili attends a news conference at the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul, in this May 16 file photo, 2013. Iran is prepared to pursue nuclear diplomacy with world powers before or after next month's presidential election in the Islamic Republic, its chief negotiator said on Thursday. [Photo/Agencies]

"If our interests are at odds with (the demands) of some countries, we should defend our rights" by resistance, said Jalili, Iran's incumbent chief nuclear negotiator, who alluded to the conflicts between Iran and some Western countries over Iran's nuclear issue.

"One of our discussions is that we do not accept the hegemonic power in the world and are in challenge with it," Jalili said, adding that "We are in challenge with a system which intends to forcefully rule the world."

However, former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati criticized Jalili's diplomacy over the country's nuclear issue in the past years, saying that it is "flawed".

"This is not diplomacy to sit face-to-face with the other side and to recite the same words" or "this is not diplomacy to read a statement before other countries," said Velayati.

He argued that the Islamic republic and the world powers could have reached an agreement if the Iranian negotiating team has responded positively to the proposals of the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in the last round of nuclear talks in Almaty of Kazakhstan.

"The art of diplomacy is to preserve the country's nuclear right and, at the same time, we diminish sanctions," he noted.

Velayati said that before Iran's nuclear dossier was sent to the UN Security Council, he was invited to France at the invitation of then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to talk over the country's nuclear issue and they agreed that Iran should reduce the number of centrifuges but at the same time could keep nuclear enrichment activity.

However, Iran's Foreign Ministry under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency told the French embassy that Velayati was not the government's representative to hold talks with the French president.

Therefore the negotiations to solve the country's nuclear issue were stopped and Iran's nuclear dossier was later submitted to the UN Security Council by the UN nuclear watchdog, which was followed by the successive sanctions and further pressures.

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