Iran says it seeks engagement on nuclear policy

At UN Conference on Disarmament, Iranian FM Salehi says Tehran seeks peaceful cooperation on nuke program.

February 28, 2012 12:59
1 minute read.
Iran's Salehi addresses UNHRC

Iran's Salehi addresses UNHRC_390. (photo credit: Reuters/Denis Balibouse )


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Iran said on Tuesday there were two says of dealing with its "peaceful nuclear program", either engagement or confrontation, but that it preferred cooperation.

In a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi accused the West of double standards for supporting Israel, the only Middle East state that is outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We have clearly stated time and time again there are two alternatives in dealing with the Iranian peaceful nuclear program. One way is engagement, cooperation and interaction. The other is confrontation and conflict," Salehi said.

Salehi said that "...Iran is confident of the peaceful nature of its program and has always insisted on the first alternative. When it comes to our relevant rights and obligations, our consistent position is that Iran does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable, legitimate rights."

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Iranian threat

Salehi's comments came after the United Nations last week reported Iran has stepped up efforts to enrich uranium.

While Iran has insisted is developing nuclear power, and not weapons, UN nuclear inspectors have been denied access to some of Iran's more covert nuclear sites. Western nations continue to exact proof from Iran that it's nuclear program is not aimed at producing weapons, and have slapped far-reaching sanctions on the Islamic Republic for its failure to provide such evidence.

Salehi commented on a recent visit by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to Iran, saying "We expect the dialogue that has started will continue."

Salehi told reporters after giving his speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament: "There was some disagreement on drafting an initial framework that would set the ground for a new roadmap as how to proceed."

In high-level talks the IAEA conducted in Tehran earlier this month, Iranian officials again declined to address intelligence reports about covert research relevant to developing nuclear weapons. staff contributed to this report

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