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By Safa Haeri
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2004

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The French President pressed Tehran to cooperate in a constructive manner with the Europeans and the AIEA.


PARIS 21 Apr. (IPS) France on Wednesday, speaking in the name of Europe but also Britain and Germany, told the Islamic Republic to cooperate "fully" with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and present a "crystal clear" report on its controversial atomic activities to the next meeting of the Agency's Board of Director, scheduled for mi-June, or "face loosing international confidence and possible consequences".

The warning was delivered by President Jacques Chirac to the Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi during a 45 minutes meeting at the Elysee Palace, with Mr. Kharrazi repeating that his country had no nuclear-based military plans and assuring France and other concerned parties that his country would continue to work with the international nuclear watchdog as promised and present a "more complete" report to the next meeting of the Directors.
“The French President pressed Tehran to cooperate in a constructive manner with the Europeans and the AIEA and announced the wish of France to see the dialogue established between the three European countries (Germany, France, Britain) and Iran continues in a constructive manner”, said Mrs. Catherine Colonna, the official Presidential spokeswoman.

Mr. Kharrazi repeated that Iran has no nuclear-based military program and assured it would cooperate with the IAEA


Mr. Chirac was refering to the agreements concluded on 21 October last year during the meeting between foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Tehran with Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential Secretary of Iran's Supreme Council on National Security and the country's top negotiator with IAEA, with Iran accepting to "suspend" its uranium enriching activities and signing the Additional Protocols to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

But IAEA agencies found that not only the ruling ayatollahs had not respected their words, but had put into use more advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium.
Informed diplomatic sources told Iran Press Service that both Mr. Chirac and Mr. Michel Barnier, the new Head of France's Diplomacy told Mr. Kharrazi about their "deep deception and concern" to see the Islamic Republic not responding to its engagements, particularly those undertaken with Europe's "Big 3".

According to Mr. Chirac, “it is also necessary to pursue the implementation of the agreements undertaken (by Iran) with the AIEA, including the ratification by Iran of the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty, inspection of Iranian nuclear sites and projects by the IAEA inspectors and the full transparency of Iranian nuclear activities.

"The answer of Iran will be determining for the appreciation that will be made by the Board of Governors of the AIEA at its next meeting in Vienna in mid-June", the French leader has added during the audience with Mr. Kharrazi at the Elysee Palace.

On Iraq, the other most important topics of discussions between Mr. Kharrazi and French officials, the two sides agreed that the "best and most efficient way to restore peace and security in Iraq was for the foreign forces to leave the country and the hand over of affairs to the Iraqis".

"Each one, including Iraq’s neighbouring nation must work and mobilise for the restoration of security in Iraq", declared the spokesman of the French Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hervé Ladsous, quoted by the French news agency AFP, commenting the two ministers' meeting. Mr. Kharazi confirmed that his country has "substantial influence" in Iraq and is using it to moderate the situation in Iraq, where the Shi’ites represent 60% of the population.

"We exercise this influence as much as possible to promote the peace and the security, because the security in Iraq has a direct impact on our security", Mr. Kharrazi told journalists at the end of his meeting with M. Chirac.

"For this reason we think that the power must be transferred to the Iraqis as soon as possible", added the Iranian minister.
On this point, he was in agreement with the French president who "again stated his preoccupation concerning the evolution of the situation in Iraq, insisting that it is necessary for all to make so that the 30 of June 30 deadline for the transfer of powers from the Americans and the Coalition to the Iraqis takes effect”, Mrs. Colonna added

As Iranian and French foreign ministers were discussing the situation in Iraq, a hail of rockets hit several places in the southern city of Basrah, under the British control, killing at least 68 and wounding 98 others.

On the request from Britain, Iran accepted to send a fact finding mission to Iraq and help getting out the Americans out of the quigmire, after Shi'a hard liners of Hojjatoleslam Moqtada al Sadr, a young and turbulent cleric engaged American and Coalition forces in souther parts of Iraq at a time that American forces were engaged in heavy fight in Fallujah, the Sunni rebel city.

But the mission left Iraq empty hand, without meeting any of the Iraqi Shi'a leaders because of the assassination of an Iranian diplomat in Baghdad the day after the Iranian mission had reached the Iraqi Capital.

“On Palestine issue, France and Iran shares similar views”, Mr. Kharrazi told the al-Alam Television network that is operated by the Iranian Radio and Television Organisation, a network that has the largest audience in Iraq.

Mr. Kharazi also indicated that he would meet later on the evening in Paris Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN’s Special Envoy for Iraq to discuss with him of different solutions on the transfer the power to the Iraqis". ENDS IRAN EUROPE 21404


French President Chirac warned Iran


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