Khatami says Iran has right to possess civil nuclear technology as Bush expresses support for anti-regime protestors
Iran will not accept tougher UN inspections of its atomic program unless other signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agree to provide it technical assistance, President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday.
"We don't want any special favor," the president said. "We just want our rights according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in which all signatories have the right to civil nuclear technology and are bound to give technical assistance to other signatories.
"Not only do we not have assistance, but we have also been hit by sanctions, " he added, according to AFP, deflecting intense pressure on Iran to sign a protocol to the treaty that would allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to conduct surprise investigations of suspect sites.
Before signing up to the additional protocol, Khatami said, "We want to be recognized as a country that possesses nuclear technology, and also the assurance that we will not be subjected to a politically-motivated operation, baseless accusations and permanent pressure."
Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush on Wednesday endorsed anti-regime protests in Iran and said that the world must warn Tehran it "will not tolerate" the Islamic regime's getting nuclear weapons.
"The international community must come together to make it very clear to Iran that we will not tolerate the construction of a nuclear weapon. Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear weapon," he said.
His comments came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported that Tehran had failed to comply with international agreements on reporting nuclear material.
Bush expressed his strongest support yet for anti-regime protestors in Iran, calling them "courageous souls who speak out for freedom" and stressing, "They need to know America stands squarely by their side."
"I would urge the Iranian administration to treat them with the utmost of respect," President Bush added.
Bush said he had raised the issue of Iran's nuclear program with leaders of the world's major industrialized nations plus Russia at their summit in France earlier this month.
"We had a good discussion on the subject, with near universal agreement that we all must work together to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," the US president said. (Albawaba.com)
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