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. Iran will not abandon peaceful use of nuclear power: Khatami
PARIS (AFP) Apr 05, 2005
Iran cannot agree to give up the peaceful use of atomic power and retains the right to resume "nuclear activities," Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told a French newspaper Tuesday.

"We are ready to consider any reasonable solution, but we reject the definitive suspension of our activities," he told Le Figaro at the start of a 24-hour visit to Paris.

The president, a moderate who is expected to leave power in June, was to see President Jacques Chirac for talks focussing on the nuclear issue. Earlier he addressed a conference at the United Nations Cultural Organisation UNESCO.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi meanwhile held a meeting with his French counterpart Michel Barnier on the nuclear issue. A French spokesman described it as "constructive."

Iran has been negotiating since December with Britain, France and Germany to win trade, security and technology rewards in return for giving guarantees that it is not trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The United States is threatening to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council if it fails to abandon for good its programme of uranium enrichment -- the process which makes fuel for civilian reactors but also what can be the explosive core of atomic bombs.

"The Europeans must understand that the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and international conventions authorise us to possess nuclear technology for peaceful ends," Khatami said.

"I hope this problem can be resolved peacefully. But if there is a bid to pressurise us into giving up peaceful nuclear ppower, that would be unacceptable for us," he said.

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