Iran wants to allay nuclear suspicions but won't cede to pressure: Khatami
TEHRAN (AFP) Aug 30, 2003
President Mohammed Khatami told visiting EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday that Iran wanted to allay suspicions about its nuclear program but would not give in to Western pressure on the issue.

The remarks implied that Tehran would not move to accept snap and unconditional inspection of its nuclear installations, as demanded by the United States and European Union.

"We are trying to win the trust of those who have real concerns, but we will not give in to the political uproar," Khatami said during the talks, according to local media reports, referring to demands that Tehran sign the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We stress that nuclear arms have no place in the policies of the Islamic Republic, which condemns the use of weapons of mass destruction, in line with Islamic and moral values," he added.

But the moderate president reiterated that Tehran "reserves its right to use nuclear technology for peaceful means."

Earlier, following talks with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, Solana issued a blunt message to Tehran, saying: "If you don't sign the protocol it will be a bad news for you."

He added that European Union "want it to be signed: the sooner the better," alluding to Brussel's warning last month that it would review its economic cooperation with Tehran following a September 8-11 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna if it did not sign the protocol.

Commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, another source of disagreement between Brussels and Tehran, Khatami urged the "United Nations and EU to stand up to the oppression by the Zionist regime of the Palestinian nation".

Khatami also stressed Tehran wanted to see in Iraq "security and a democratically-elected government and we consider the role of the (US-sponsored) Governing Council a positive one".

Iran has delcared three days of mourning following Friday's bomb attack in Najaf that killed top Shiite cleric Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim as well as 82 other people.

Solana also held talks with the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency Gholamreza Aghazadeh.