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. Khatami asserts Iran's right to nuclear energy at the end of Sudan visit
KHARTOUM (AFP) Oct 06, 2004
Iran's President Mohammed Khatami Wednesday asserted his country's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as parliament began a drive for resumption of uranium enrichment.

"Acting in conformity with our religious values and our commitment to the treaty banning proliferation of nuclear weapons, we are not going to produce nuclear weapons," Khatami told reporters at the end of a three-day visit to Sudan.

He added that as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Islamic republic was "entitled to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," such as generating electricity.

Khatami said: "We have voluntarily implemented the additional protocol and have fully cooperated with the IAEA ... and we believe the problem is nearing a solution."

But deputies in the Iranian parliament's foreign policy commission are pushing for a resumption of enrichment itself -- a step that would almost certainly see Iran's case sent to the United Nations.

Under pressure from the IAEA, Iran, which is still widely suspected of using an atomic energy drive as cover for weapons development, agreed to suspend enrichment of uranium in October 2003.

On September 18, the IAEA passed a resolution calling on Iran to "immediately" widen the suspension of enrichment to include all related activities -- such as making centrifuges, converting yellowcake into UF6 feed gas, and constructing a heavy water reactor, processes which can be used for peaceful purposes or for making a nuclear bomb.

Iran faces a November 25 deadline to comply or risk going before the UN Security Council.

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