|Iran seeking better relations with Europe: ambassador||
TEHRAN – Iranian Ambassador to Ireland Javad Kachoueian says that the Islamic Republic is seeking better relations with European countries.
“One of the main goals of the new (Iranian) government is to remove obstacles and normalize relations with Europe, based on mutual respect and common interest,” Ambassador Kachoueian said in an interview with the Irish Times published on Wednesday.
A specialist in European-Iranian relations, Kachoueian is a senior diplomat with 29 years of experience. Before his arrival in Dublin this spring, he served in embassies in Helsinki, Oslo, The Hague, Copenhagen, and London.
Commenting on the pressure being exerted on Iran over its nuclear activities, Kachoueian said that the sanctions against the country are “illegal and inhuman.”
Relief from the sanctions depends on the conclusion of Iran’s negotiations with the U.S., Russia, China, Germany, France, and Britain regarding Iran’s nuclear program. A July 20 deadline has been set, but it may be extended.
A preliminary agreement last November precipitated a gold rush of Western businessmen, prospecting for deals in Tehran. Although many circumvent the sanctions regime by dealing through third countries, trade remains difficult.
“It’s not about nuclear weapons,” Kachoueian said. “The people of my country cannot accept that others tell them not to have a peaceful nuclear program.” As a signatory to the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, the ambassador said Iran has “an inalienable right” to enrich uranium.
The amount of uranium the country is allowed to enrich is the biggest sticking point in negotiations.
Kachoueian pointed out that the nuclear program was “conceived and initiated by the Shah and his government, with direct assistance and encouragement by the U.S. and some European countries”. The U.S. and Europe “have been given every opportunity to participate in the development and construction of nuclear reactors in Iran, but they have always refused to do so,” he added.
The words “peaceful purposes” occurred in nearly every sentence Kachoueian uttered regarding the program. He also cited a 2005 fatwa by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, which forbids “the production, stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.”
He also said that the sanctions against Iran are a form of “self-punishment” by the West.
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