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Asefi stresses Iran's active diplomacy over past year

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Aug 27, IRNA
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said here Sunday that Iran has had an active and extensive diplomacy over the past year.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman made the remark while talking to domestic and foreign reporters in this week's briefing session.

Turning to Iran's nuclear issue and Iraq as two important matters on the agenda of the country's foreign policy, he said that the officials have done their best to discuss the nuclear problem with various parties all over the world.

He referred to the neighborhood of Iraq with Iran and stated that Iraq's security is intertwined with that of the region and Iran.

Asefi pointed to Iran's view on the foreign relations as balanced and said that various aspects of such relations, including political, economic and cultural have been taken into view in such relations.

In reply to a question about Iran's prediction about the reaction of Europe to its nuclear response, Asefi said, "Despite Europe's impatience and seeking pretexts, we responded to the proposal of the 5+1 group."

He referred to the will of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that Iran would approach the received package of proposal positively and said, "We approached the proposal in a positive way and provided a good atmosphere in our response just for the sake of such a call on part of Annan."

Saying that such a positive look prepared the ground for solving the issue through negotiations, he said that Iran's response is now on diplomatic path.

Asefi referred to Iran's six-point response to the 5+1 group's proposal and said that one concerns Iran's rights and duties.

He said that `transparency and cooperation with IAEA', `mutual confidence-building', `long-term cooperation with Europe', `sustainable security cooperation in the region' and expressing `features of fruitful, constructive and efficient negotiations' were the other points included in the response.

The official said that all the points raised by Europe were clarified by Iran, adding that there is no ambiguity in the submitted response.

"This is the high time for our European negotiators to return to talks with no prejudgment and misbehavior to facilitate reaching a result," he added.

Concerning the reason for inauguration of the heavy water plant in Arak by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the eve of the date specified by the UN Security Council for suspension of Iran's enrichment (August 31), he said that the project has been underway for several years and that it has come on stream.

"The Europeans are well aware that inauguration of Arak Heavy Water Plant is not meant to make the nuclear issue more complicated, it was rather planned earlier and inaugurated at this point," he said.

About the repeated violation of cease-fire by the Zionist regime, he said that unfortunately the Zionists have proved that they are not committed to any international criteria and laws.

"Iran had declared at the beginning that the presence of the Zionist regime in the region makes the prospect of peace out of reach.

"By relying on the US government Israel continues its aggressions and has violated cease-fire time and again," he added.

The official referred to Iran's exchange of idea on the issue with various countries, including the regional ones, he said that the UN and its Security Council as well as influential states should mediate and prevent the Zionist regime from creating another crisis in the region.

Asefi dismissed any link between `Zolfaqar Blow' maneuvers and Iran's nuclear issue, adding that the preplanned wargame was carried out on schedule and that this was a yearly event.

In response to another question about the heavy water plant recently inaugurated in the capital of Markazi province, Arak, he dismissed the idea of placing too much focus on the issue. "It was just a planned project. We cannot act according to the will of those who are against our success."

Asked whether Iran has referred to enrichment in its response, given that Europe considers the response as ambiguous, he said, "The issue of uranium enrichment has been included in the response. It is quite transparent, clear, comprehensive and complete."

He called on Europeans to go through Iran's response carefully and return to talks, given that negotiations will pave the way for solving the issue.

Responding to another question about a report on a Japanese company being questioned by police for its nuclear cooperation with Iran, Asefi said that upon hearing such a piece of news he was surprised, given that Iran has never cooperated with Japanese enterprises in such a field.

He underlined that Iran's nuclear activities are transparent and within the framework of international laws.

About the claims of opposition groups that Iran has tested 15 P2 centrifuges, he said, "We don't consider such claims as serious, given the transparency of our cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.

"By raising such claims, they possibly intend to say that they are still alive. Actually they do not even have any idea on centrifuge and presume it to be a bolt which can be hidden in the pocket of pants."

Concerning the reaction of the 5+1 group to Iran's response, he said that their reactions were different, adding that the US reaction was ambiguous, while that of European states was not similar to each other.

Stating that the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana and Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani constantly exchange views on the issue, he said that China and Russia have underlined that talks should continue.

He noted that given the difference of ideas on the issue among members of the 5+1 group, holding talks can bring their views closer to one another.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that one of the prerequisites for negotiations is lack of agreement with the other party.

"We have done our job and intend to pursue the issue through holding talks," he added.

Asefi called on Europe to avoid any rush decisions and not be influenced by any country.


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