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Daily Archives: April 13, 2009

World powers must accept a nuclear Iran

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani said yesterday that world powers must accept the Islamic republic as a nuclear power.
His comments came after the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – plus Germany offered to hold direct talks with Iran over its nuclear drive.
"Now the 5+1 has no reason to deny or refuse Iran's nuclear technology and the expected negotiations will be based according to the rights mentioned in the Non-Proliferation Treaty," Larijani said in a speech to parliament reported by the ISNA news agency.
The international community has called on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme which they suspect is aimed at making atomic weapons, a charge strongly denied by Tehran.
Iran announced on Thursday the opening of its first nuclear fuel plant and said it has tested two new high-capacity centrifuges used to enrich uranium, although Washington has voiced scepticism over the claimed nuclear advances.
Tehran maintains it is allowing the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to inspect its nuclear work and that as a signatory to the NPT, it has the right to enrich uranium as fuel for nuclear power plants.
Larijani, Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator, said that the "more intense supervision as advocated by some of the members of 5+1 is baseless and has no legal foundation."
Larijani's remarks were echoed by Mohammad Saeedi, deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Organisation.
"The world has to accept Iran as a nation with nuclear power aimed for peaceful purposes," Saeedi was quoted as saying on the website of the state-run television.
"Some nations are accepting this fact and the talk of suspending [the enrichment programme] is a thing of the past and no longer relevant."
Enriching uranium so that it can be used for nuclear power – or building a weapon of mass destruction – lies at the heart of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear programme.

Troops kill 40 militants in Afghanistan

Afghan and international forces killed 40 Taliban militants in separate battles in the troubled country, authorities said yesterday.
In one incident, the rebels ambushed a joint Afghan and foreign forces patrol in Shinkay district of Zabul province late Saturday, sparking an exchange of gunfire, provincial police chief Abdul Rehman Sarjang told AFP.
"Twenty-two Taliban were killed. The militants left the bodies behind. Four are Pakistani nationals and the rest are Afghans," he said.
Sarjang added the international forces called in air support after the ambush. There were no casualties to the joint forces.
The interior ministry gave the same toll in a statement.
But the US military said separately it had killed four Taliban in the same area, also on Saturday. It was unclear if it was the same incident.
Separately, troops killed 18 insurgents in the northeastern province of Kunar overnight, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said.
The Afghan and ISAF forces had been able to identify the group as militants and ambushed them, an officer said.
There are more than 70,000 international troops under NATO and US command in Afghanistan helping in the fight against the insurgents.
The Taliban rose from southern Afghanistan to sweep into government in Kabul in 1996. They were ousted in a US-led invasion in late 2001 that sent many of their leaders and Al-Qaeda allies into sanctuaries across in Pakistan.