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Iran Ready For War But Seeks Peace

Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Ansari said that Iran intended to continue developing its nuclear power program in line with IAEA guidelines.
by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Apr 18, 2006
Iran's top envoy to Russia said Monday his country was prepared for war if attacked over its nuclear program but was making a "maximum effort" to end the impasse over that program through peaceful negotiation, news agencies reported.

"One way to avert war is to be prepared for any war," Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Ansari was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on the eve of talks in Moscow among six powers on how to address the Iran nuclear problem.

"Iran continues to make a maximum effort so that no war will happen in this region," Ansari said. But he added that "Iran has been, is and will be prepared" for armed conflict if it comes to that.

"We hope that the Iranian issue will be resolved by way of negotiation," Interfax and RIA Novosti quoted him as saying.

His comments came as officials representing the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and Germany prepared to hold talks in Moscow on how to proceed on the Iran nuclear issue.

The Security Council on March 29 gave Iran 30 days to suspend uranium enrichment activities. The head of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, visited Iran last week and was due to report back to the Security Council before April 29.

The United States has accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear energy program. Iran denies this accusation and insists its nuclear program is strictly for energy.

Responding to a question on Tuesday's meeting in Moscow, Ansari said: "We are expecting these six states will give back the IAEA's authority and prestige so that we can cooperate with this agency as we did before."

"Iran is interested in good-faith cooperation with the IAEA and Iran is trying to ensure that this cooperation is open and transparent so that no more questions remain" about the country's nuclear program, the ambassador was quoted as saying.

He added however that Iran intended to continue developing its nuclear power program in line with IAEA guidelines.

"We are working actively with the IAEA and we want to maintain this relationship," Ansari said, according to ITAR-TASS news agency.

"We will maintain all of our activities in the nuclear area in the framework of the agency's directives, criteria and regulations," the agency quoted him as saying.

The envoy said that Tehran was interested in further talks with Russia on Moscow's proposal to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian soil, but said no plans had been worked out for further meetings between the two sides on this.

"The negotiations were never stopped," he said, adding: "We think that the Russian proposal to create a joint venture holds good potential" for resolving the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program, he added.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

War With Iran Will Do US More Damage Ex-Officials Warn
Washington (AFP) Apr 16, 2006
Two former US National Security Coucil experts warned Sunday that military action against Iran could be more damaging to US interests than the current struggle in Iraq has been.

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