Tehran: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday that Iran wants to allay concerns over its nuclear programme, suspected of hiding efforts to build an atomic bomb, and resolve the impasse.
Zarif, a moderate whose ministry was tasked Thursday by President Hassan Rowhani to handle Tehran`s negotiations with world powers, said "there are two principles in the nuclear domain -- first and foremost, respect for our rights in matters of nuclear technology, especially the enrichment of uranium.
"Following that is to allay international concerns" on the programme.
Zarif`s remarks came after a telephone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. She is chief negotiator for the P5+1 -- the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany -- who have been pressing Iran to stop enriching uranium.
Uranium enrichment, which Iran insists is purely for peaceful purposes, can lead in more refined form to the production of the fissile core of a nuclear weapon.
"Allaying international concerns is in our interest because atomic weapons do not form part of the Islamic republic`s policies," Zarif said.
"Consequently, our interest is to remove any ambiguity regarding our country`s nuclear programme."
Western countries and Israel suspect that Tehran`s nuclear programme is cover for a weapons drive, a charge it strongly denies.
"I told Mrs Ashton that if there is a political will to resolve this matter, particularly regarding Iran`s nuclear rights, we are equally ready to move forward," he said.
Following his election in June, Rowhani expressed a desire to engage in serious, more transparent talks with world powers, but without abandoning Iran`s "undeniable rights" in the nuclear field, particularly with respect to uranium enrichment.