Kharazi says Iran wants to end nuclear dispute
( 2003-09-29 11:38) (Agencies)
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said in remarks broadcast on Sunday that his country was willing to accept the international nuclear watchdog's Additional Protocol as long as Tehran could continue to produce enriched uranium.
"If we sign (the) Additional Protocol, we want to make sure that we can continue with enrichment facilities to produce fuel needed for our power plants," Kharazi said in an interview with ABC television recorded on Saturday.
Asked on the program "This Week" if he was willing to say that Iran would accept all the restrictions and guidelines of the protocol, the foreign minister replied: "Provided that it would solve the problem, it would be enough."
The United States and other Western countries fear Iran's enrichment facilities could be at the heart of a clandestine nuclear arms program. Iran says its atomic ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.
Iran, as a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has an obligation to open up its nuclear program to IAEA inspections and has vowed not to seek nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution giving Tehran until October 31 to enable the agency to verify that its nuclear program is peaceful.
The resolution requested Iran to sign up to the NPT Additional Protocol which permits U.N. inspectors to visit virtually any site in the country at very short notice to flush out any clandestine arms program.
Kharazi said in the ABC interview that Iran was "determined to cooperate with the IAEA, no question."
"But if you are asking about the Additional Protocol which we had been asked to sign, we want to make sure that this is enough and is going to solve our problems and remove all suspicions."
He said Washington wanted Iran to stop its enrichment activities but "nothing is wrong as long as it is under the auspices of the IAEA and the inspection regime."
IAEA inspectors are due in Tehran Thursday for a round of further inspections and talks with Iranian officials.
President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday urged Iran to give up any hopes of building nuclear weapons and to expand its cooperation with the IAEA.
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