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Iran Says It Hopes To Settle Differences With IAEA

July 15, 2007 -- Iran says it hopes to settle all its differences with the UN's atomic watchdog over the country's nuclear program within the next two months.

But even as Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said today that Tehran hopes to resolve outstanding questions, he stressed that Iran's nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment, will continue.

Iran's permanent representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was quoted by Iran's official Press TV as saying on July 14 that a fresh round of talks with IAEA officials will take place in Vienna in late July.

"We are determined and we have always assured that our nuclear activities are peaceful, and we spare no effort to remove any ambiguities, if there are any," Soltanieh said. "At the same time, we are not going to withdraw from our inalienable right enshrined in the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty) for peaceful uses of energy, including enrichment."

The IAEA has accused Tehran of years of obfuscation and failure to disclose important aspects of its nuclear program.

The IAEA has also said it cannot confirm that Iran's nuclear efforts are purely peaceful, as Tehran insists.

Critics, led by the United States, have accused Iran of secretly trying to obtain nuclear weapons.

IAEA Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei has urged Iranian officials to suspend uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure to accompany talks with the international community aimed at resolving disputes over Iranian nuclear activities.

Iran has remained defiant over enrichment despite two rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council aimed at pressuring Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, and its permanent members, plus Germany, are discussing further UN sanctions based on IAEA reports that enrichment continues.


Copyright (c) 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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