Larijani says Arabs back nuclear stand

June 14, 2006 - 0:0
ALGIERS (Reuters) -- Iran's chief negotiator said on Monday Tehran was winning Arab sympathy in its standoff with world powers over its nuclear program.

Ali Larijani made the remark during a visit to Algeria, following a trip to Egypt on Sunday for talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Arab League head Amr Moussa.

"My trip, which included Egypt, Algeria and other neighboring countries, is aimed at boosting dialogue over issues that interest both Iran and Arab countries," Larijani told a news conference after talks with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. "I confirm that Arab countries support Iran's position over the nuclear issue. I noticed this point during my meeting with the Arab League chief."

Larijani also recently visited Yemen.

Larijani, who heads Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) which has been entrusted with handling nuclear talks, said Iran was ready to explain its position to allay any worries among neighboring Persian Gulf countries. "We are indeed willing to explain and shed light on our program to ease the Persian Gulf countries' concerns. They are neighbors and we love them."

Iran backs reasonable nuclear talks

Larijani said Iran is open to all "constructive and reasonable" negotiations on its nuclear program but will not accept any preconditions.

Larijani again rejected the offer made by European and U.S. authorities to open talks leading to an incentive package in exchange for a suspension of uranium enrichment activities.

"The issue of uranium enrichment constitutes a major part of those negotiations, so if this part was eliminated then the negotiations would be stripped of all meaning," he said as carried by AFP.

Iran however accepted "all constructive and reasonable negotiations (without) any preconditions", he added.

Algeria is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which is preparing to issue a statement that could back Iran in the nuclear standoff with the West.