Bush, Putin discuss Iranian nuclear plans as Tehran vows to resist US pressure
US President George W. Bush met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Saturday for the first time since their row over Iraq. On Sunday, both leaders urged Iran to halt development of nuclear weapons.
During their joint news conference, Bush said, "We are concerned about Iran's advanced nuclear program and urge Iran to comply in full with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."
The leaders were asked whether they had made any headway in persuading Moscow to scale back its sales of nuclear technology to Iran.
"The position of Russia and the United States on the issue are much closer than they seem," Putin said. "We need no convincing about the fact that weapons of mass destruction proliferation should be checked and prevented throughout the world."
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said in an interview published on Saturday his country will resist the American pressure, especially regarding its nuclear research program.
"The US do not want us to have access to civilian nuclear technology, but we have the right to take part in this progress," he told the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, set to appear on Monday.
Furthermore, he denied Iran was seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, saying his country was cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency and was respecting the agreements it had signed.
Tehran was not afraid that Washington could be hoping for a change of regime in the country. "We shall resist that pressure as well," he said.
Kharazi rejected US claims that Iran was sheltering top figures from the al-Qaeda terror network.
"We have fought this organization, we have arrested some of its members and we have sent them to their countries of origin," he said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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