'Iran a few steps away from resolving nuke issue'

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Tehran, Dec 1: The controversy surrounding Iran"s nuclear program is just “a few steps" away from being resolved, according to former President and Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Rafsanjani, who served as President of Iran from 1989 to 1997, said the issue would be resolved soon, as Iranian and European Union (EU) officials held talks yesterday to address the remaining differences over the country"s nuclear program.

“Over the past few days, negotiations between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog have become more serious," the Tehran Times quoted him, as saying in a sermon at Friday prayers here.

“Iran has moved along a peaceful path so far," Rafsanjani added. He stressed that the West should desist from making threats against Iran at a time when talks were going on the issue.

“Now that Iran"s representative is holding talks with them (Western countries), they should not make threats because threats make Iran more determined," he said.

Asserting that negotiation was the only way to find a solution to the nuclear dispute, Rafsanjani said: “They should hold talks to see where Iran deviated (from the peaceful pursuit of nuclear technology). Up to today, they have failed to find even one document proving Iran"s deviation."

While assuring Teheran"s full support in resolving the nuclear issue if the West intended to do so, he warned, “But if their objective is adventurism, they can rest assured that their fate in Iran will definitely be worse than (what happened to them) in other places they invaded."

He said that Iran was committed to its agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Since we have signed the (August) agreement, we have committed ourselves not to move toward nuclear weapons, and our actions in this issue are completely peaceful," Rafsanjani said.

His statement came after Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana held a new
round of nuclear talks in London on Friday.


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