Iran Reiterates N. Stance

A01175376.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki underlined that the Islamic Republic has had no diversion in its drive to access nuclear technology and would not backtrack on its stance even one iota.

“Iran is entitled to peaceful nuclear technology and the Iranian nation and officials have stood firmly for their nuclear cause,” Alalam quoted Mottaki as saying in the northern city of Gorgan on Saturday.

He said in the last Iranian year (March 21, 2007-March 19, 2008) the Islamic Republic had been transparent in its nuclear drive more than other International Atomic Energy Agency member states.

“Iranian experts and technicians have achieved remarkable success in nuclear technology and today, Iran does not need other countries’ experts,” Mottaki said.

Mottaki hailed the huge turnout in the 8th parliament elections on March 14 and said the massive participation foiled enemy attempts to discourage popular presence.

“Many of the enemies broadcast satellite programs to discourage massive public turnout in the elections but to no avail.” he announced.

During a joint press conference with his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey on Monday, Mottaki said that Iranian cooperation with the IAEA has become “routine” in line with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the agency’s safeguards.

He said that the current cooperation between Iran and the IAEA led to the settlement of all outstanding questions and the subsequent clean health bill by the UN’s atomic watchdog on February 22.

Iran has defied three UN sanctions resolutions over its refusal to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the nation is entitled to the right as stipulated in the NPT.

Iranian officials on various occasions have stressed the country’s nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes, including electricity generation for a growing population.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki reiterated Iran’s steadfast stance in its nuclear technology.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East last month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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