Khatami rejects criticism of nuclear deal

17th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

17 November 2004 , TEHERAN - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday rejected criticism from the country's conservatives over a nuclear agreement struck last weekend with the European Union's so called big three - Germany, France and Britain. "Why should we provoke another crisis if we can settle the dispute with diplomacy and wisdom and in line with our real national interests," Khatami told reporters following a cabinet session in Teheran. "If the nuclear case had been referred to the United Nati

17 November 2004

TEHERAN - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday rejected criticism from the country's conservatives over a nuclear agreement struck last weekend with the European Union's so called big three - Germany, France and Britain. 

"Why should we provoke another crisis if we can settle the dispute with diplomacy and wisdom and in line with our real national interests," Khatami told reporters following a cabinet session in Teheran.

"If the nuclear case had been referred to the United Nations Security Council, then we would have had to pay the consequences of such a move, regardless of whether we are right or wrong," he added.

"We are open for criticism but the agreement has been a huge diplomatic victory as now we have a coalition with the EU, China, Russia and the Non-Aligned Movement in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Khatami said.

The president was rejecting rising criticism from the conservative faction in parliament. The conservatives plan to force the government to reverse Sunday's deal on the suspension of uranium enrichment.

Khatami said that the IAEA board meeting on 25 November and the mid-December meeting with the EU working groups would be a first test to see whether both sides were committed to the agreement.

"If the agreement works out, then we will have an effective long- term cooperation with the EU in line with all our political and economic interests," Khatami said.

In the agreement, struck with Britain, France and Germany representing the EU, Iran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment for at least three months until talks with the EU are concluded.

The EU is offering increased trade and energy links in exchange for ensuring that Iran abandons all military nuclear ambitions.

The United States is sceptical of the talks and wants the IAEA to refer Iran to the Security Council with the aim of imposing sanctions to force full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

DPA

Subject: German news

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