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Iran Expresses Willingness to Cooperate with UN Nuclear Inspections - 2003-09-28

Iran's foreign minister says his country is willing to cooperate with U.N. nuclear weapons inspectors, but wants to continue to produce nuclear power. The foreign minister's comments come a day after U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin said they agreed that Iran should not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

Appearing on the ABC television program This Week, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said his country has no problem with more thorough inspections of its nuclear weapons facilities. "Provided it would solve the problem and be enough," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has given Iran until October 31 to prove that it does not have a secret nuclear weapons program. Agency inspectors are due to visit Tehran later this week.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, also appearing on This Week, re-iterated the U.S. position. "We have to have all questions with respect to its nuclear weapons programs answered," he said.

Last week, U.N. inspectors reportedly found traces of weapons grade uranium at a power plant west of Teheran. Particles of highly enriched uranium were found at another power plant earlier this year.

Iranian officials say their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and the material may have already been present when the equipment was purchased outside the country. Mr. Kharrazi said Iran will not abandon its use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes.