Iran welcomes Lebanese national unity talks

TEHRAN, Mar. 5 (MNA) -- Iran on Sunday welcomed the national dialogue initiative launched by Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

“We welcome talks that center on the national unity of Lebanon and hope that they can reach a final outcome,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a regular press conference. The security and stability of Lebanon is important for the region, he added.


Today’s meeting a big test for IAEA


In reference to today’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting over Iran’s nuclear program, Asefi said the meeting is a big test for the IAEA to show how it will defend the rights of its member states and its own credibility.


“We recommend the agency acts professionally and not politically," AFP quoted him as saying. "If the atmosphere gets tense, the other side will lose," he warned. "It is not the Islamic republic alone which will lose."


Asefi reiterated that Iran is ready to negotiate on its nuclear program with all countries as before.


On reaching a nuclear deal with the European Union in the remaining hours, he said every thing is possible. “These negotiations are going forward every second and I cannot assess them right now.”


Asefi said Iran is not ready to "bargain" over its bid to master nuclear work. "Nuclear research will go on, and threats, propaganda and bullying will not affect us."


Iran’s nuclear activities are only aimed at producing fuel for reactors and everything is under the close eye of the IAEA. "It would be worrying if it was concealed, but we are doing it transparently and under cameras," Asefi argued.


"The West must not make the mistake that we are seeking to bargain. We have certain rights and the Westerners must accept those."


Saudi FM to pay a visit to Iran


Asefi stated that the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal has accepted Iran’s invitation to travel to Tehran but the date of the trip has not been set yet.


In her recent visit to the Middle East the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to win the support of regional Arab states against Iran’s nuclear program. The Saudi chief diplomat said there is no indication that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapons program. 


Bush’s opposition to Iran-India pipeline was mistake


On a recent statement by the U.S. President George W. Bush who said he doesn’t object to the gas pipeline project from Iran to India via Pakistan, Asefi said the United States had no right to oppose the gas pipeline project from the very beginning because this matter does not concern the U.S. at all.


The gas pipeline project is aimed at boosting regional relations and is based on the needs of the regional countries, he pointed out. “Perhaps Bush’s recent remarks were made to correct his previous stances.”


Iran affairs office in U.S. State Department


On the establishment of the Iran affairs office at the U.S. State Department, and U.S. claims to boost democracy in the Middle East, Asefi said that the United States is not very honest in what it says about democracy. For instance, he said, they do not accept the Palestinian elections.


He described the U.S. move as an action to make up for its previous repeated mistakes about Iran. “The idea of establishing a department especially for Iran shows that the United States, so far, has been talking about Iran without any knowledge and just based on unconfirmed information.”







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