Iran 'determined' to go nuclear
Tehran - Iran on Saturday told visiting former Japanese premier Yukio Hatoyama that it will pursue its controversial nuclear programme despite "restrictions", and hopes upcoming talks with world powers will lead "toward trust building", media reported.
Iran "is pursuing its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and will not ignore this right", Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by official media as telling the Japanese politician, who commenced his trip on Saturday.
Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful, Salehi said, adding that "for more than three decades with the aim of preserving its political independence Iran has withstood problems and restrictions and... will continue this path".
He was quoted as expressing hope that the "upcoming P5+1 talks to be an opportunity for the West to move toward confidence building".
That was a reference to a much-anticipated resumption of talks between Tehran and the six world powers on Iran's disputed nuclear programme, which is planned to go ahead next week despite a dispute on the venue being Istanbul or Baghdad.
Iranian media quoted Hatoyama as dubbing the next round of talks as "important" and saying he "hoped that through talks and negotiation, Iran's nuclear issue is resolved".
"Japan believes that no nation in the world should possess weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones, and that the peaceful use of nuclear energy is the right of all countries," he was quoted as saying.
The official IRNA news agency quoting Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi on Friday as saying that during his two-day visit, Hatoyama is expected to meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and other top officials.
Hatoyama's visit was frowned upon in Japan, and Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba reportedly requested that he not make the trip.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Nodahe has also expressed concerns over Hatoyama's visit from the viewpoint of consistency with the government's efforts of international co-ordination, Japanese media reported.