Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rafsanjani slams France’s stance on Iran’s nuclear issue

TEHRAN – Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has criticized some high-ranking French officials for threatening Iran over its nuclear standoff with the West.
“Using the language of threat, and unfriendly rhetoric will not help resolve the problems. Iran is truly ready to settle issues through negotiations without preconditions and within the framework of international law,” Rafsanjani told French ambassador Bernard Poletti in a meeting on Sunday. Iran has come under four UN Security Council resolutions for refusing to halt its uranium enrichment program which the U.S. claims is a cover effort to make atomic bombs. Iran insists that its nuclear activities are peaceful and are aimed at generating electricity for a growing population. Rafsanjani called on French and Iranian officials to make every effort to settle differences and boost bilateral relations. “France’s support for Iraq in the imposed war (1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war) and its violation of nuclear agreements with Iran have made a negative influence on relations with Tehran. We hope that we will not see such actions in the future.” Elsewhere in his remarks, Rafsanjani said the ceasefire in the Gaza war should have been achieved sooner. “It was late to announce a ceasefire after killing over 1200 people and wounding 5000 others,” he said. The cleric criticized the European Union for not paying enough attention to the Israeli crimes in Gaza. “Given that France was present in the Palestinian territories for a long time, it could take more practical actions to stop Israeli offensive in Gaza.” He said, “The Zionist regime will get no results from inhuman actions and this was clear from the early days of war on Gaza…This regime is now making another mistake by keeping its troops inside Gaza and this will have bad repercussions for them.” Poletti, for his part, said France wants Iran’s nuclear issue to be resolved diplomatically and will spare no efforts in this regard. He said Iran and France have historical ties and it is natural that they adopt different stances on some particular issues
January 19, 2009
Tehran Times