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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran will not scrap nuclear research program - spokesman

RIA Novosti

15/05/2006 14:31

TEHRAN, May 15 (RIA Novosti) - An Iranian government spokesman said Monday it would be pointless for the country to halt its controversial nuclear program.

Gholam-Hossein Elham said the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), exercised oversight of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, and had yet to find evidence of any wrongdoing.

"Surrendering the right to civilian nuclear energy makes no sense to Iran," Elham said. "IAEA reports prove the peaceful purposes of our nuclear program."

The United States, France, and Britain are pushing for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. The other two veto-holding members, Russia and China, have called for the dispute to be resolved by the IAEA.

Elham said Iran was ready to develop cooperation with the IAEA, and added that the country's signature of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) was the best guarantee of its nuclear program's peaceful purposes.

Iran has come under intense international pressure to reimpose a moratorium on nuclear research. The country has been accused of pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program under the guise of civilian research, charges it denies. It says it only wants nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

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