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. Iranian nuclear negotiator to India
TEHRAN (AFP) Aug 30, 2005
Iran's new top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani headed to India Tuesday in an apparent bid to drum up support from New Delhi in a looming international clash over its nuclear programme.

State radio said Larijani would be in New Delhi for one day to meet with India's National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and "discuss peace in the region and deepen ties between the two countries".

India is a key member of the Non-Aligned Movement, whose members have been more sympathetic to Iran's quest to possess the nuclear fuel cycle.

On August 8 Iran chose to end its freeze on a part of the fuel cycle -- uranium conversion -- at a facility near the central city of Isfahan.

The Islamic republic had agreed to suspend fuel cycle work, but broke the freeze in retaliation to demands from Britain, France and Germany that it scrap its fuel cycle programme in exchange for a package of incentives.

Iran insists it has the right to a peaceful nuclear programme as a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), although the EU-3 argue the fuel cycle could be diverted from producing reactor fuel to nuclear weapons.

The United States accuses Iran of using its energy drive as a cover for acquiring the bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency passed a resolution this month telling Iran to return to a full freeze, but Iran has refused and risk being referred to the UN Security Council over the coming month.

India's Foreign Minister Natwar Singh is due to visit Iran early next month for talks with new President Mahmoud Amedinejad that will likely include a proposed 7.4 billion dollar gas pipeline between Iran and India.

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