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. Japan pushes Iran on nuclear row
TOKYO, May 25 (AFP) May 25, 2007
Japan has made a fresh appeal to Iran to suspend uranium enrichment but the Islamic republic stood by its position that the work is for peaceful purposes, an official said Friday.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso called for Iran to be more cooperative during a telephone conversation Thursday with his counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki, said the official at Japan's foreign ministry.

"It is regrettable that Iran is still not responding positively to the demands of Security Council resolution 1747," Aso told Mottaki, according to the official.

The resolution, approved unanimously in March, expanded sanctions on Iran because of its refusal to stop uranium enrichment.

"There is no other way for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to this problem other than for Iran to respond to the resolution, suspend its uranium enrichment activities and return to the negotiation table," Aso said.

But Mottaki was quoted as replying, "Iran's nuclear development is completely peaceful and Iran is ready for dialogue to resolve the dispute."

Washington and its European allies accuse Iran of working to devleop nuclear arms under the cover of a civilian energy programme, while Tehran insists its only goal is generating electricity.

Japan has cordial relations with Iran, although it last year scaled back plans to develop the country's largest onshore oil field due to the nuclear issue

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