Ahmadinejad: Iran will not Budge on N. Rights

A04702524.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his visiting Syrian counterpart on Saturday that although Iran welcomes talks on its nuclear program, it will not give up even an iota of its legitimate right to access civilian nuclear technology.

“We will take part in any negotiations and talk about any issue which consolidates our nuclear rights,” Ahmadinejad told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, adding, “But Iran will not give an inch on its nuclear rights.”

The Iranian president also said that diplomacy is the only way to solve its dispute with the West over its nuclear program.

“There is no way except talks and obedience to the law.”

“We are serious in talks and we want the talks to be based on the law so it will bear practical results. We hope that other sides are serious too,” Ahmadinejad added.

Ahmadinejad also told Assad that the demise of Tehran’s regional arch-foe, the Zionist regime of Israel, is imminent.

“The Zionist regime has lost its raison detre, is no longer able to direct US and European policies in the region and is therefore naturally heading for annihilation,” Ahmadinejad said.

“Some countries are wrong to try to create divisions between Iran and Syria which will always remain by each other’s side.”

Ahmadinejad also reiterated that the United States should withdraw from neighboring Iraq.

“The US should start pulling out of Iraq, and any US administration which gets to power has to do it,” he said, alluding to November’s presidential election there.

Also during the meeting, both sides also emphasized the importance of Iranian-Syrian cooperation as a means to maintain and consolidate regional stability and security.

“Despite efforts made by certain states to disrupt Tehran-Damascus ties, these relations will remain unshakable and permanent,” Ahmadinejad stressed.

Assad, on his third trip to Tehran since Ahmadinejad took power in 2005, said that Damascus considers Tehran lawfully entitled to peaceful nuclear energy, and reiterated, “Syria strongly stands by Iran and will not change its stance.”

“Given the Iranian nuclear standoff, Syria attaches great importance to international treaties directly related to the issue. As to international accords, Iran has the right to enrich uranium and to operate a nuclear plant like any other state,” Assad said.

“We have told the Europeans that Syria believes that any country including Iran, and based on international treaties, has the right to enrich uranium and have a nuclear power plant.”

The Syrian leader’s visit follows a trip to Paris a month ago during which French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Syria to “persuade Iran” to accept a recent offer by western countries.

The Group 5+1 – the five permanent UN Security Council members (the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France) plus Germany has offered Iran a package of incentives to entice Tehran into giving up its NPT right of uranium enrichment.

If Iran accepts the package, there would be pre-negotiations during which Tehran would add no more uranium-enriching centrifuges and, in return, face no further sanctions.

Iran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment, saying the demand is politically tainted and illogical.

Iran has so far ruled out halting or limiting its nuclear work in exchange for trade and other incentives, and insists that it will continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhoveyn as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Iran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed after it answered the UN agency’s questions about the history of its nuclear program.

Assad is also scheduled to meet Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei before returning to Damascus.

The Iran-Syria alliance, stretching back more than three decades, was strengthened in 2006 with the signing of a military cooperation agreement.

Iran is currently involved in a range of projects in Syria valued at around 1.3 billion dollars.

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