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Iran insists nuclear programme peaceful

The chief Iranian nuclear negotiator insisted the Islamic republic was not seeking a nuclear bomb.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 17:42 IST

The chief Iranian nuclear negotiator on Thursday insisted the Islamic republic was not seeking a nuclear bomb, rejecting comments by France's foreign minister that Tehran's atomic drive was "military".

"Contrary to all the propaganda against us, we are not seeking a nuclear bomb, since we are a signatory to (the nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said in an interview with radio France Inter.

"We are a responsible country," Larijani added, going on to say that, "it is Western propaganda that keeps on saying that Iran is seeking a bomb, but it is not true."

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy had said on Thursday for the first time that Iran's nuclear programme is, "a clandestine, military" project.

"It's very simple: no civilian nuclear programme can explain Iran's nuclear programme," he told France 2 television.

"Therefore it's a clandestine military nuclear programme...I am very sorry to hear such comments from him, France possesses a high position among the Iranians," Larijani said.

"It is better for France to use its position to solve the issue, complicating the situation is easy, but diplomats should refrain from harsh comments," he said. "We should not hear the same comments from the EU countries as we are used to hear from the Americans," he said.

Asked about whether Iran would halt oil sales to the West, Larijani said: "We will not take the first step. But if they take on a behaviour that changes the region's conditions, it may have an affect.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 17:42 IST