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. Iranian FM favours diplomacy in nuclear crisis
ANKARA, Feb 20 (AFP) Feb 21, 2007
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki reiterated in Ankara on Tuesday that his country was in favour of solving the ongoing nuclear crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.

"We have said that we want a diplomatic solution," Mottaki said at a press conference with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, adding that he hoped a meeting in Vienna between International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani would be constructive.

"Let's hope that this time the negotiations will not be interrupted" like in the past, Mottaki said, insisting that an international settlement of the issue needed to "safeguard Iran's rights and erase all fears" that Tehran aims to use its enrichment capabilities to build nuclear weapons.

The Larijani-ElBaradei meeting came on the eve of a United Nations deadline for Iran to stop enriching uranium, which is used to make nuclear reactor fuel but can also make atom bomb material.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge denied by Tehran, which insists its atomic effort is a peaceful energy programme.

ElBaradei is scheduled to file a report by Friday certifying whether Iran has honored a UN Security Council call last December 23 for it to stop the enrichment.

Mottaki and Gul also said Tuesday they had discussed Iraq, emphasising that if the situation there is not stabilised, neighbouring countries in the region will continue to be hit by terrorist attacks.

Mottaki, who spoke with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, was scheduled to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in Istanbul on Wednesday.

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