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Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:16AM
 Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says there has been no formal request by Canada to appoint Italy as the representative of Ottawa’s interests in Tehran. Referring to reports about Canada designating Italy as the representative of its interests in Tehran, Ramin Mehmanparast said such an issue must be agreed upon during bilateral talks. Italy has said that it would represent Ottawa’s interests in Iran. "[Italy’s] Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi today announced Italy's decision to respond positively to the request to represent Canadian interests in Iran following the closure of their embassy in Tehran," the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday. On September 7, Ottawa closed its Embassy in Tehran in a unilateral move and ordered the Iranian diplomats in Canada to leave the country within five days. The Canadian government has also frozen the bank accounts of many Iranian nationals living in Canada and banned money transfers to Iran. Commenting on Iran's nuclear energy program, Mehmanparast said Tehran is prepared to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to resolve any ambiguities. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Monday that the agency is “firmly committed” to continuing talks with Iran on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program. The United States, Israel and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of IAEA, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. MYA/HMV/MA
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