Iran tries to soothe West's nuclear concerns

Iran's top nuclear negotiator sought to soothe international unease over his country's nuclear programme during a visit to Pakistan on Wednesday, days after a U.N. watchdog confirmed Tehran had resumed uranium conversion.

Ali Larijani has been seeking support from non-Western nations for Iran's plan to pursue what it says is a programme designed for power generation and not atomic weapons.

"Having stated this principle that we are determined to have nuclear technology... We are fully prepared to have any international negotiations, discussions to remove the international concerns," Larijani said after meeting Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a fresh initiative that will "facilitate work to assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful (nature) of our activities," Larijani told reporters, without expanding on what that initiative contained.

Larijani, appointed last month by Iran's new president, was due to meet Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, after his talks with Aziz.

Iran is facing mounting diplomatic pressure after an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report issued last Friday confirmed Tehran had resumed uranium conversion, one of several activities previously suspended under a deal with three European Union nations France, Britain and Germany, reports Reuters.

According to Daily Times, Dr Larijani held a 75-minute meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, later, that covered all aspects of bilateral relations, regional and international issues.

Welcoming Iran’s interest, the prime minister highlighted the significance of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, terming it as a “win-win” for all three countries. The prime minister told the Iranian official that in the wake of Pakistan’s fast growing energy requirements it needed more than one pipeline. He said Pakistan was currently working on four options: overland gas pipeline from Iran and Turkmenistan; under sea line from Qatar and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Dr Larijani appreciated Pakistan’s resolve in this regard.

The prime minister said Pakistan would welcome Iranian firms to participate in infrastructure projects in Pakistan.

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