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Stop countering nuke drive: Iran to world
Tehran, Aug 24 (Agencies):
Published on 24 Aug. 2009 11:40 PM IST
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Iran told world powers on Monday they must stop working against its atomic drive and instead adopt a policy of interaction with the Islamic republic to resolve the nuclear crisis. “It is the right time for the other parties to review their policy. Rather than countering Iran, they should interact with Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi told reporters. World powers and Israel are at loggerheads with Iran over its nuclear programme which they suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons, a charge consistently denied by Tehran. Ghashghavi also dismissed threats of additional sanctions on Iran if it fails to abide by international demands to halt uranium enrichment, a process which makes fuel for nuclear plants but can also be diverted to make the core of an atomic bomb. “Past experience has shown that sanctions are futile. Sanctions will not prevent us from pursuing our legal rights,” he said. Iran will continue to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, appearing to confirm Tehran had let inspectors access a reactor under construction after blocking visits for a year. The International Atomic Energy Agency is due to release a report on Iran’s disputed nuclear program this week. Last week diplomats accredited to the Vienna-based agency said Iran had allowed the IAEA to inspect the Arak heavy water reactor site. The UN agency had urged Iran to grant access so it can verify that the site under construction is for peaceful uses only. The diplomats also said Iran had recently allowed an upgrade to monitoring at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant. The moves were greeted with scepticism by the West, which suspects Iran is seeking to build nuclear bombs. Tehran says its nuclear work is to generate electricity. Uranium enrichment can have both civilian and military uses. US President Barack Obama has given Iran until September to take up an offer by world powers of talks if it freezes uranium enrichment, or face harsher sanctions. Iran has long insisted that it has a right to nuclear technology as it is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Meanwhile Ahmadinejad maintain the Iran is no longer afraid of any financial sanctions being imposed in its row with the West over Iran’s nuclear programmes. Iran has for more than three years ignored a previous EU deadline for suspending its nuclear enrichment programme. “No country would dare even point at Iran (regarding renewed sanctions)” Ahmadinejad was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying in the southern Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. Ahmadinejad said before and after his disputed re-election in June that Iran would no longer talk to the world powers - namely the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany - over the nuclear dispute but only to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) . Even remarks by Iran’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, that Iran was ready to hold negotiations with the world powers over the nuclear dispute “without preconditions” were hastily denied although state television had quoted the envoy as saying so. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran would not cave in to the September deadline, adding that after Ahmadinejad’s re-election, “the West should adopt itself to the new era in Iran.”

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