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. "No country needs atomic bomb": Iranian Nobel winner Ebadi
VIENNA (AFP) Sep 10, 2004
Iran's Nobel Peace prize-winning lawyer Shirin Ebadi called Friday for a negotiated settlement to the dispute between Iran and the United States over Tehran's nuclear programme, declaring that "no country needs the atomic bomb."

The long-running dispute, in which Washington is calling for UN sanctions against Iran, is due to be discussed at a meeting of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Monday.

The United States charges that the Iranian programme has military goals, but Tehran says it is intended purely to boost its energy production.

"No country needs the atomic bomb, neither the United States, nor Israel, nor Iran," Ebadi said after meeting Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

"I hope a negotiated solution can be found with the international community," she said.

Ebadi warned against any military intervention against her country, which is bordered by two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, which have US troops on their territory.

"The Iranian people will never allow any foreign soldier to set foot in Iran," she said.

The lawyer, who Friday began a five-day visit to Austria as the guest of several associations, called on authorities in the Islamic Republic to respect human rights.

"This concerns the whole of the international community. A state can no longer assert that human rights are a national issue," she said.

She particularly denounced an Iranian law that authorises the execution of minors.

Ferrero-Waldner for her part voiced regret that the dialogue established between the European Union and Iran on rights issues in late 2002 has so far produced few concrete results.

"The situation has even deteriorated in several areas since the parliamentary elections of February 2004," she said.

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