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. Iran won't trade away nuclear programme, vice president says
MOSCOW (AFP) Sep 12, 2005
Iranian Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who heads his country's atomic energy agency, said Monday his country would not drop its nuclear energy programme whatever "dividends" are offered by the outside world.

"This is a national question that concerns the whole of society and no Iranian government could make such a deal," Aghazadeh told journalists during a visit to Moscow.

"We're not looking to obtain dividends in exchange for stopping our nuclear activity," he said.

"It is us who are interested in creating an atmosphere of confidence and transparency in order to show that our researches are peaceful. No kind of deal figures in our negotiations with Russia or the European Union."

The Iranian vice president also insisted that the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), had no grounds for referring Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme.

"On the basis of IAEA criteria there is no reason, juridical or technical, to refer the Iranian file to the UN Security Council.

"If there are countries that want to politicise this file, we will react in an appropriate manner. If the file is sent, our reaction will be firm and very clear. And if that moment comes you will see it for yourselves," he said.

Aghazadeh's talks with senior Russian officials were expected to focus on Russia's construction of a nuclear power station at Bushehr, in Iran.

The visit preceded a crucial September 19 meeting of the IAEA, which may ask the UN Security Council to penalize Iran for refusing to stop nuclear fuel work.

Russia's construction of the plant at Bushehr has sparked controversy as the United States and other Western countries accuse Iran of seeking to secretly build nuclear weapons.

But on Monday a spokesman for the Russian federal nuclear agency reaffirmed that construction was on track to begin operating the power station by the end of next year.

Russia has indicated it would not support bringing Iran before the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme.

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