Scientific progress should serve a nation’s welfare – says Iran’s President Ahmadinezhad

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President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad in Tehran on Wednesday voiced Iran’s readiness to share its nuclear achievements with other nations within the framework and under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog.

He said: ‘Scientific progress should serve nations’ welfare and we are ready to share our experiences with other nations within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency and under its supervision.’ He added that big and bullying powers cannot hurt the Iranian nation, expressing hope that they would not create disturbances for other nations and let them progress too.

The Iranian president stressed: ‘If nuclear energy is something good, all nations should enjoy it on the basis of law.’

In the final round of talks between Iran and the IAEA, a list was drawn up on the subjects of the inspection of the under-construction Arak heavy water reactor and preparing the executive procedures for the inspections at Natanz.

Iranian official Javad Va’idi commented: ‘The agreements reached in fact have to be seen as a very precise progress based on establishing the way in which these problems will be dealt with, a timetable and the way in which each of the steps have to be undertaken by Iran and the IAEA in turn.’

IAEA Deputy head for Safeguards Olli Heinonen, for his part, described the talks as constructive and said: ‘Now we have a framework for action, with a clear timetable.’ The outcome of Iran’s talks with IAEA representatives and the progress made are to be reflected in IAEA chief El-Baradei’s September report, which is to be presented to the IAEA Board of Governors in two weeks time.

On Tuesday visiting President Ahmadinezhad said Iran and Azerbaijan are willing to increasingly promote their bilateral political ties. He made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev at the end of the two presidents’ talks in the Azeri capital, Baku.

Ahmadinezhad said the two had agreed on promotion of bilateral cooperation in the fields of oil, gas and petrochemical activities, trade, transportation, exchange of technical and engineering services and dam building projects. ‘We discussed other major political, regional and international developments and reached some agreements,’ he added after arriving earlier on Tuesday for a two-day visit at the official invitation of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

Ahmadinezhad said that President Aliyev had accepted his invitation for paying a visit to Iran. ‘President Aliyev is expected to attend a meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states which will be a major step taken to promote relations of the neighbouring countries,’ said the Iranian president.

Ahmadinezhad added, ‘Iran firmly supports progress of Azerbaijan’ and stressed that Iran prefers to see Azerbaijan as a developed and powerful country. ‘The exchange of visits between Iran and Azerbaijan will serve (regional) peace and security,’ stressed the Iranian president.

Stressing that Tehran-Baku enjoyed ‘good political relations,’ he said the two capitals were to ‘promote bilateral economic and cultural ties to the highest level.’ Ahmadinezhad added that both sides supported peace, security, respect for law and its equal and fair enforcement for all.

‘All nations have the right to live with prosperity, freedom and welfare and enjoy equal rights,’ the Iranian president stressed. He added that Tehran and Baku were similarly opposed to unilateralism and bullying. ‘We condemn unilateralism and bullying and believe that all nations should have friendly bilateral relations based on law and justice,’ President Ahmadinezhad added. He said that the two neighbouring states should share their experiences in cultural, scientific and sports fields.

As for Tehran-Baku stands on international developments, the Iranian president stressed that both capitals supported the rights of all nations. ‘We (Tehran and Baku) share common stands at international organisations,’ Ahmadinezhad said, adding that the two capitals were to further develop a ‘long standing cordial relations’.

The Caspian Sea should remain the sea of peace, amity and friendship, Ahmadinezhad said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters in Baku, he said all littoral states of the sea ‘should benefit from its potentials and resources.’

He referred to the Caspian Sea as a ‘proper chance to cement bilateral relations among its littoral states (Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan)’.

Noting that the next summit meeting of the sea’s littoral states is due to be held in Tehran on 18 October, President Ahmadinezhad said: ‘Cooperation among the Caspian Sea littoral states will benefit all regional countries and other world nations. There is no fundamental problem on the way of promotion of ties among the Caspian Sea littoral states and their proper and fair use of the sea resources,’ stressed the Iranian president.

He expressed hope that active participation of the sea’s littoral states in the upcoming summit would lead to appropriate decisions.

• Right-wing Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post has claimed that Iran has developed a Shahab missile remote-control launch system. The paper said on Wednesday it has learned: ‘Preparing for a possible American or Israeli strike on its nuclear installations, Iran has developed a remote-controlled launch system that can be used to operate dozens of unmanned Shihab ballistic missile launchers in underground bunkers.

‘After recent upgrades, the Shihab-3 (Shahab-3) ballistic missiles are believed to have a target range of 2,000-kilometres. The missile was initially developed with a 1,300-km. range. According to informed Western sources, the remote-controlled launch system was developed by the Iranians in conjunction with North Korea and by employing Chinese technology. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Yayha Rahim Safavi said recently that Iran had equipped its Shihab missiles with an advanced guidance system that can control them after they are launched.

‘Israeli defence officials recently said if Iran were attacked, it would most likely respond by launching Shihab missiles at Israel or US targets in the region. The officials said Israel’s Arrow missile defence system was capable of intercepting all of Iran’s operational missiles.

‘Also Tuesday, senior Israeli defence officials expressed doubt that another round of sanctions would be imposed on Iran, which continues to enrich uranium and develop its nuclear programme in defiance of the United Nations Security Council.

‘ “The economic sanctions have proven themselves as having an impact on Iran,” a senior official said. “But without Russia or China, it is doubtful that the UN will succeed in passing another round of sanctions”.’