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Iran Prepared to Ease Concerns Over Nuclear Program

Iran has reiterated its determination to develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses, saying it is prepared to remove international concerns over its nuclear program. The country's chief nuclear negotiator made the statement after talks with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad.

Ali Larijani's visit to Pakistan is part of Tehran's efforts to build support against growing pressure over its nuclear program. Mr. Larijani is Iran's lead delegate in negotiations with European nations over its nuclear ambitions.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the Iranian official said his country wants to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy under the rules of United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA. But Mr. Larijani reiterated that pressure or the use of force will not deter Iran from developing a peaceful nuclear program.

"One thing is important that we will not have any hesitation to have nuclear technology," he said. "Having said (stated) this principle that definitely we are determined to have nuclear technology … we are fully prepared to have any negotiation, discussion to remove the international concerns."

He says he is confident that a new initiative from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's will help assure the international community of the peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear activities. Mr. Larijani, however, did not expand on what that initiative contained.

Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz reiterated to Mr. Larijani that Islamabad opposes "coercive measures" against Iran over its nuclear program. An official statement quotes him as saying that Pakistan opposes nuclear weapons proliferation but it believes every country has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the IAEA regulations.

Pakistan is not a member of the IAEA and has developed nuclear weapons of its own. The top scientist in its weapons program is believed to have sold nuclear technology to several countries, including Iran, Libya and North Korea.

The IAEA last week confirmed that Iran has resumed uranium conversion, one of several activities previously suspended under a deal with France, Britain and Germany.

The disclosure raises the prospect that the European Union will support the United States in pushing for Iran to be referred to the U.N Security Council for punitive action.

Washington suspects that Iran's clandestine nuclear program is primarily meant for developing weapons.