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Iran to Continue Enrichment Program

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said on Wednesday that Tehran was determined to continue uranium enrichment, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Other countries can not stop Iran's uranium enrichment program," Kharazi was quoted as saying after a cabinet meeting.

On nuclear negotiations with the European trio of Britain, Germany and France, Kharazi said the talks were going on in order to remove the European Union (EU)'s concern over Iran's nuclear activities.

However, Kharazi said Iran would evaluate the negotiations in mid-March, and the talks would go on if the result of the evaluation was positive.

The foreign minister reiterated the Islamic Republic had no intention to produce nuclear weapons.

Kharazi criticized Washington as well, saying all its plans in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, were aimed at helping Israel's survival.

"Washington is trying to make up for its mistakes in Iraq and in the region. Now, even EU members do not provide the US policies with all-out support," Kharazi said.

Iran suspended its uranium enrichment activities last November, paving the way for negotiations on incentives proposed by the EU to encourage Tehran to carry out the suspension.

However, the two sides failed to reach agreements on key issues such as Iran's building of a nuclear reactor in the following talks.

Iran has also rejected the key EU proposal that it abandons the plan to build a heavy-water reactor in exchange for a light-water research reactor provided by Europe.

Washington, accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons secretly, has threatened to launch preemptive attacks on Iran.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2005)

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