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Iran's Top Nuclear Negotiator Says Committed To International Regulations

Iran's National Security Advisor Ali Larijani (L) shakes hands with Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh prior to a meeting in New Delhi, 31August 2005. Iran's new top nuclear negotiator was in New Delhi for talks with Indian leaders, in an apparent bid to drum up support in a looming international clash over Tehran's nuclear programme. AFP photo by Prakash Singh.

New Delhi (AFP) Aug 31, 2005
Iran's new top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said Wednesday Tehran is committed to international regulations on nuclear proliferation, ahead of a looming international clash over its atomic programme.

"We are fully committed and bound by international regulations relating to the nuclear field," Larijani told reporters in New Delhi after talks with Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh.

"What is important is to continue our cooperation in a serious way with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," he said.

Larijani's trip comes just days before a September 3 deadline set by the IAEA for Iran to stop work on reactor fuel at a plant at Isfahan.

Larijani, who also met National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan soon after his arrival Tuesday, said work at the Isfahan nuclear facility "is being done under the supervision of IAEA inspectors."

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

Iran had agreed to suspend fuel conversion. But it ended the freeze in retaliation to demands from Britain, France and Germany -- also known as the EU-3 -- that it scrap the 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, although the EU-3 argue that such work could switch from producing reactor fuel to nuclear weapons.

Washington accuses Tehran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, a charge vehemently denied by Iran which says its atomic program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity.

Iran said Sunday it does not consider Britain, France and Germany to be the sole negotiating partners on its nuclear programme and the process should be opened out beyond Europe.

"Negotiations can have different forms and if other countries have a feeling of responsibility towards this issue they will continue to help security of this region," Larijani said Wednesday.

"Promoting regional security requires cooperation between two important countries of Iran and India," he added.

The Iranian official's visit also precedes a visit to Tehran Friday by foreign minister Singh for talks with new President Mahmood Ahmadinejad.

Discussions will likely include a proposed 7.4 billion dollar gas pipeline between Iran and India passing through Pakistan.

Larijani confirmed that discussions on energy and the proposed gas pipeline had figured in his talks with Singh.

"The focus of our talks was on strategic relations, partnership in the field of energy...we also discussed ways of working together in international organisations and arenas," he said.

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Pakistan Gets Eight Orion Patrol Aircraft From US
Islamabad (AFP) Aug 31, 2005
Pakistan has taken delivery of eight P-3C Orion patrol aircraft from the United States, a military statement said Wednesday, in the latest arms sale by Washington to its key ally in the "war on terror".

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