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. Iran's hardline president won't change nuclear negotiators: FM
TEHRAN (AFP) Jul 17, 2005
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said Sunday Tehran will not replace its nuclear negotiating team despite the change of government following last month's elections.

"The nuclear negotiating team will not change because they are competent experts," Kharazi said.

Iran has been involved in often fraught negotiations with the European Union over its controversial nuclear programme for months and the election of ultra-conservative Mahmood Ahmadinejad as president in June raised the prospect of a more hardline negotiating team emerging.

Ahmadinejad is due to enter office on August 3.

Britain, France and Germany have promised to come up with a proposal by the end of this month that could make or break the lengthy diplomatic process aimed at easing widespread fears Iran is seeking nuclear weapons technology.

Kharazi said however that Iran will reject any European proposal that does not recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium, the official IRNA agency reported.

Washington accuses Tehran of using a civilian atomic energy program as a cover to seek nuclear weapons and seeks a permanent halt to uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing activities that could be used in an arms program.

Iran denies the charge and says it has the right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to the peaceful use of nuclear technology, including making atomic fuel.

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