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. Iran tells Japan all its nuclear activity is peaceful
TOKYO (AFP) Feb 09, 2005
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said in Japan Wednesday that Iran had no secrets to hide from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose head Mohamed ElBaradei has reportedly warned Tehran.

"I assure Mr Minister that all our activities are peaceful," Kharazi told a joint news conference after talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura.

"We are ready to cooperate with the IAEA as before and also to continue talks and negotiations with the three European countries," he said.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters after meeting Kharazi that Iran needed to meet the EU demands.

"Japan supports the three countries of the European Union and strongly hopes that they will reach an accord," Koizumi said.

Britain, France and Germany are leading negotiations to press Iran to call a permanent end to uranium enrichment, a process that can make fuel for nuclear reactors but can also be the explosive core of atomic bombs.

Iran refuses to make its suspension permanent, saying it has the right to enrichment under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

Kharazi visited Japan, a close US ally which also has a strong relationship with Tehran, as the United States urged the European negotiators to warn the Islamic republic that its threats of taking it to the UN Security Council were serious.

Kharazi told Machimura that Iran wanted more investment from the world's second-largest economy, according to a Japanese official.

Machimura told him, "The investment environment is not good enough," the official said.

"The reasons that Japanese business is not doing much investment is the uneasy relationship between the US and Iran and nuclear concerns," Machimura was quoted as saying.

Kharazi's Japan visit came as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking on a European tour, urged Britain, France and Germany to take a tough line.

"The Iranians need to hear that if they are unwilling to live with verification measures... then the Security Council referral looms," she told Fox News in an interview.

"I don't know that anyone has said that as clearly as they should to the Iranians," she said, although she later backpedalled somewhat, saying there was "no deadline, no timeline" on how long Washington would let talks continue before pushing for other action.

"The Iranians know what they need to do," she added.

Machimura said Japan supported the EU role.

"I hope the talks with the EU will be productive and I told him we support the EU position," said Machimura, who was not responding specifically to Rice's remarks.

Iran saw only 529 million dollars in direct investment from Japan in the two decades after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

But a year ago Japan, a major oil importer, signed a two-billion-dollar deal with Iran to develop the massive Azadegan oilfield despite concern from the United States.

Kharazi also held talks in Tokyo about the situation in Iraq, where officially pacifist Japan has deployed troops on a historic mission but where the United States has in the past accused Iran of meddling.

"Iran is ready to cooperate with Japan as fully as possible to promote security and peace in Iraq and in the whole region," Kharazi said.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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