Iranian President Mohammad Khatami defended his country's nuclear programme on Wednesday, denying plans to build weapons of mass destruction or any improper ties with North Korea.
Speaking after his appearance at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Khatami denied receiving shipments of nuclear material from North Korea and reiterated Iran's commitment to open relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency."I categorically deny that shipment of nuclear material by North Korea to Iran. We have nothing to hide," Khatami said.
Khatami said Iran has a stronger relationship with South Korea than the communist North.
He also stands by Iran's right to use nuclear technology for peaceful means.
Khatami played down the political crisis unfolding in Iran, where officials said most of the Cabinet ministers and vice presidents have submitted their resignations.
Some officials accused hard-liners of trying to engineer a sympathetic parliament by disqualifying thousands of prospective candidates.
But Khatami said 'sensitive issues' are part of election campaigns in any country, and that he is doing everything in his power to ensure a free and fair poll.
Khatami rejected claims by United States President George W Bush in his Stae of the Union speech that the US has achieved a greater level of transparency in Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons. Khatami challenged Bush, saying US foreign policy has not been a resounding success. Khatami said the war in Afghanistan failed to locate Osama bin Laden or curb the al Qaida network. Khatami added the US failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq despite going to war for that reason."It is very clear that the public opinion was deceived with the WMD because there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Khatami said.
On the Issue of Israel, Khatami said occupation does not equal legitimacy, and that Iran will support Palestinians but not interfere with international wrangling over the occupied territories.
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