Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (L) shakes hands with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the Fifth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Global Forum in Vienna, February 27, 2013.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has reiterated Iran's readiness to address the purported Western concerns over Tehran's nuclear energy program, but has insisted on the Islamic Republic's right to develop and use peaceful nuclear technology.
“We are ready to take measures to remove the nuclear concerns [over] our country via mutually agreed international means (between Iran and the West); however, the recognition of our [nuclear] rights by the opposite side will be paramount,” Salehi said.
Salehi made the remarks in a meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the Fifth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Global Forum in Vienna on Wednesday.
The United States and some of its allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Over the false allegation, Washington and the European Union have imposed several rounds of illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany) have held several rounds of talks with a focus on Tehran’s nuclear energy program. The two sides wrapped up their latest round of negotiations in Almaty on Wednesday.
Ban, for his part, reiterated Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, expressing optimism about the talks between Iran and the P5+1 group.
Referring to the ongoing crisis in Syria, Salehi voiced Iran’s readiness to help halt the bloodshed in Syria, saying that dialog between the government and opposition groups is the only solution to the crisis in the Arab country.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting against the Syrian government are foreign nationals.
Salehi also underlined the importance of regional stability and security and stressed the Islamic Republic’s respect for the territorial integrity of all countries.
Ban also praised Iran’s support for the efforts of UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi to establish peace in the Arab country and welcomed the Syrian opposition’s offer of talks with the government.
Meanwhile in an address to UNAOC forum on Wednesday, Salehi described as very effective Iran’s role and geostrategic position in the promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East.
The Iranian top diplomat pointed to the terrorism, poverty and weapons of mass destruction as the main challenges facing the region and called for the establishment of a Middle East free of nuclear weapon.
The Iranian foreign minister said the Islamic Republic has been a victim of terrorism and underscored the importance of a fatwa, religious decree, issued by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei which declares atomic weapons as haram, or forbidden according to Islam.
On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.
Salehi further underlined the necessity of firm determination and will by all countries for the attainment of common human objectives.