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Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 15:23 UK

Iran 'will co-operate with IAEA'

Technicians at the Isfahan Uranium conversion facility plant (08/2005)
Iran maintains that the purpose of its nuclear programme is peaceful

Iran will continue to co-operate with the United Nations nuclear agency, a foreign ministry spokesman has said.

Hassan Qashqavi appeared to confirm reports last week that UN inspectors were allowed access to Iran's nearly complete nuclear reactor at Arak.

But Mr Qashqavi urged the West to seek "interaction" not sanctions in its dealings with Tehran, state TV reports.

Western nations fear Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its nuclear work is for civilian purposes.

Western diplomats said on Friday that Iran had allowed inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into its nuclear facility at Arak after a year without access.

Sanctions will not prevent us from pursuing our rights
Hassan Qashqavi
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman

They also said Iran had agreed on ways to improve monitoring at the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant.

The IAEA has not commented on the reports. The head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, is due to publish his latest findings on Iran in the coming days.

"All our nuclear activities have been within the framework of the agency and the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty)... ElBaradei has always confirmed Iran's co-operation with the agency," Mr Qashqavi told reporters.

"This trend will be continued in the future. What has been mentioned recently was in the same framework," he added, in an apparent reference to the visit to Arak, some 190km (120 miles) south-west of Tehran.

'Futile'

But Mr Qashqavi also called on Western powers to "review their policy".

"Rather than countering Iran, they should interact with Iran," he said.

He also dismissed the threat of harsher sanctions.

"Past experience has shown that sanctions are futile. Sanctions will not prevent us from pursuing our legal rights," he said.

Tehran has continued to enrich uranium despite lengthy negotiations in recent years with major powers and despite the imposition of sanctions by the UN Security Council.

US President Barack Obama has urged Tehran to take part in six-party talks on trade and other benefits in exchange for shelving its nuclear programme.

The UN Security Council will discuss whether to impose further sanctions on Iran at a meeting in September.



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