Mon, Feb 23, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Iran tells Schroeder ‘impossible’ to stop peacful nuclear plan

AFP , TEHRAN

Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani on Saturday told former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder it was impossible to deprive Tehran of nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

“Iran has observed international regulations and depriving Iran of nuclear technology and energy for peaceful purposes is impossible,” Larijani told Schroeder during a meeting in Tehran.

The latest remarks by Larijani, a former nuclear negotiator for Iran, came after the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday said Iran is continuing to enrich uranium, potentially a stage in making an atomic bomb, but has slowed down the expansion of its enrichment activities.

Tehran and Western powers are at loggerheads over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. The West suspects the program is aimed at acquiring atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Schroeder, who is on an unofficial visit to Iran, met top officials of the Islamic republic, including hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During his meeting with Larijani, the former chancellor praised Iran’s “positive and constructive role in Afghanistan.”

Later during a meeting with former Iranian president Akber Hashemi Rafsanjani, he said that without “US and Iran cooperating” current regional issues will not be solved.

Schroeder also said it was wrong to have ignored and isolated Palestinian militant group Hamas over the past years while solving the regional issues.

“It is necessary to have this group join regional solutions,” he said.

Last month, Israel fought a 22-day war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has long accused Iran of arming militants in Gaza, a claim Tehran denies even though it says it offers moral support to Hamas.

Iran and in particular Ahmadinejad have repeatedly launched tirades against Israel and even termed the Holocaust as a “myth.”

In a speech earlier on Saturday at the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Schroeder criticised Ahmadinejad for doubting the Holocaust.

The Holocaust is a “historical fact” and there is no sense in denying such an “unparalleled crime,” he said.

Borna news agency said Schroeder criticized Ahmadinejad who has stirred global outrage with his anti-Israel stance.

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