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Iranian FM terms talks with European leaders "useful"

London, April 23, IRNA -- Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said here on Thursday that he had held "useful talks" over nuclear issues with British and French officials in his European tour.

Kharrazi told IRNA in an interview that France and Britain together with Germany that were involved in nuclear talks with Iran have stressed continuing cooperation with the Islamic Republic over its atomic energy program.

"The European states should realize that the only way in this regard is promotion of cooperation as well as mutual respect to Iran's viewpoints," he said.

"We expect the European states to live up to their commitments so that mutual confidence is formed as a bilateral approach."

Foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain visited Tehran last October to discuss Iran's nuclear program and to settle questions on Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The visit of the ministers resulted in the signing of the Tehran Declaration under which Iran agreed to sign the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and voluntarily suspend its uranium enrichment.

Kharrazi said the progress in Iran-Europe nuclear talks since the Tehran Declaration is the result of mutual contacts and debates, and stressed the need to maintain dialogue to follow up the issue.

He highlighted the need to determine how European states will carry out their commitments toward Iran as highlighted in the Tehran Declaration.

Kharrazi added that it is also necessary to finalize Iran's case in the next meeting of IAEA Board of Governors, stressing that he had discussed this in his meetings with British and French officials as well as leaders of some other board member states.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Kharrazi said European countries are developing a new understanding toward the "important and constructive" role of the Islamic Republic in the Middle East.

He stressed that European states attach a great significance to Iran's role in the region, particularly toward the issues of Palestine and Iraq.

Kharrazi said European states now considers Iran as an important regional partner and a major power in the region, stressing that Iran had used the opportunity of his European tour to remove possible unrealistic impressions regarding Iran's role in the region.

He said Europe already views the Islamic Republic as a stable country in the Middle East, and expressed hope that Iran would be able to develop "very good relations" with Europe.

"We are ready for such relations which should be based on mutual respect without interference in the affairs of each other," Kharrazi said.

"These relations that will be based on respect toward our culture and values as well as the principle of cooperation and assistance will be naturally compatible with the independence of the Islamic Republic and we hope to act within this framework."

Kharrazi started a five-nation tour to Italy, France, Belgium, Ireland and Britain on Monday to discuss issues of mutual interest as well as Iraq and Palestine developments with European leaders.

... Payvand News - 4/23/04 ... --

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