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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran issue should be resolved peacefully - Azerbaijan

RIA Novosti

05/05/2006 15:12

BAKU, May 5 (RIA Novosti, Gerai Dadashev) - The conflict surrounding Iran's controversial nuclear program should be resolved peacefully, the president of neighboring Azerbaijan said Friday.

Ilham Aliyev, speaking at a news conference at the close of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in the Azerbaijani capital Baku, said: "All issues that are provoking concern should be resolved peacefully, in the spirit of talks, to maintain the fragile stability in our region."

The leader of Azerbaijan, which is seen by some as a U.S. ally in the Caspian area, said there were "no problems whatsoever" if norms and standards of international law gave a country the chance to use nuclear energy.

At talks through the ECO, an intergovernmental organization of 10 nations in the Middle East and Central Asia including Iran, the sides focused on the international confrontation surrounding the Islamic Republic's nuclear plans, which have been at the center of a storm since the start of the year, with many countries suspecting Iran of pursuing a secret weapons program.

At the news conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed that Iran planned to accomplish uranium enrichment on an industrial scale.

The hard-line president said Iran was interested in continuing its activities on the basis of international principles and laws, and under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, until it achieved industrial production of nuclear fuel for our nuclear power stations.

But Ahmadinejad again rejected claims that his country was pursuing a secret weapons program.

"I wish to reiterate once again that our nuclear programs are solely for peaceful purposes," he said.

The UN Security Council is currently considering a resolution drafted by the United States, Britain and France that could see economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic for its failure to cooperate fully and openly with the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Iran's vice president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aghazadeh said Tuesday that Iran had enriched uranium-235 to 4.8%. He said Iran was not planning to enrich uranium to more than 5%, as this level was enough to produce nuclear fuel for a power station.

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