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. Iran must be ready to pay price for nuclear technology: top official
TEHRAN (AFP) Sep 21, 2004
A close advisor to Iran's supreme leader has called for Tehran to stand firm in its drive for sensitive nuclear technology and to be ready to pay the diplomatic price, state news agency IRNA reported Tuesday.

"Whenever we stand firm and defend our righteous stands resolutely, they are forced to retreat and have no alternatives," said Ali Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister and close aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

"If a nation aims at reaching scientific and technological perfection and embracing high standards in national achievement, there will be costs it has to accept," said Velayati, who has also been tipped as a possible future president of the country.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a resolution Saturday that demands Iran halt its controversial uranium enrichment-related activities, a part of the nuclear fuel cycle that can be directed to both energy and weapons purposes.

In a compromise text hammered out by the three main European powers -- Britain, France and Germany -- and the United States, the UN watchdog also gave Iran until November 25 to clear up suspicions it is seeking nuclear weapons.

Iran insists it is only trying to generate nuclear power, and contends that fuel cycle work for peaceful purposes, including enrichment, is permitted under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Refusal to abide by the resolution could mean the country is referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, something the United States has been lobbying for.

Velayati said Washington was merely trying to "paralyse all our activities and will not cease until they have erased us from the scene".

He also denounced the Europeans, who have been spearheading diplomatic efforts to ensure Iranian cooperation with the IAEA, as "expansionist" and "trying to please Washington".

"Those who are familiar with these countries and the history of international diplomacy never count on the promises of of such countries," he said in regards to Iran's talks with the EU's "big three".

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