Iran to open nuclear summit

Tehran summit said to focus on availability of nuclear energy for all nations.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera in advance of the meeting, Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister, said that the Iranian government was stressing the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    "Last week, we celebrated successful steps in nuclear activities for Iran, and in that meeting with Ahmadinejad [the president], we stressed that nuclear energy must be for everybody," he said.

    "While Washington discussed the protection of nuclear material, in this coming conference we will emphasise the necessity of disarmament."

    Mottaki also told Al Jazeera that there would be some form of American representation at the nuclear summit.

    But the US state department has denied that claim to Al Jazeera, saying no US official had been invited.

    US summit criticised

    Iran criticised the 47-nation nuclear security summit hosted in Washington earlier this week by Barack Obama, the US president, on the grounds that the US holds one of the world's largest stocks of nuclear weapons.

    Officials from Iran were not invited but Mottaki told Al Jazeera that he would have considered attending if invited.

    The Tehran conference also comes as Mohammad Khatami, Iran's former president, was barred from flying out of the country to attend a nuclear disarmament conference in Japan.

    Khatami has reportedly been prevented from attending a nuclear conference in Japan [EPA]

    An aide to Khatami, widely regarded as a leading pro-reformist, says security officials told him he could not leave for Hiroshima.

    However, Khatami's lawyer said he was not banned from flying but "advised" by officials to cancel the trip.

    In another Iran-related development, envoys of six major powers held on Thursday a closed-door round of discussions on a new package of UN sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.

    Ambassadors from the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council are trying to find common ground on a US draft resolution outlining sanctions against Tehran in five areas, a source close to the talks told the AFP news agency.

    Those areas were said to include:

    • arms sales
    • energy
    • shipping
    • finance
    • and targeted punitive measures against the powerful Revolutionary Guards

    Tehran counters that it is entitled to continue work on its controversial uranium enrichment programme while a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and strongly denies it wants nuclear weapons.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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