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Iran Proposes Control System Aimed at Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

Ahmadinejad began a second presidential term last month after his government effectively crushed opposition protests over his disputed reelection in June. He has accused the West of orchestrating the protests.

Addressing the nuclear issue, Samareh Hashemi strongly rejected a senior U.S. diplomat's accusation Wednesday that Iran "is now either very near or in possession" of enough low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon. The diplomat, Glyn Davies, Washington's chief envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said in a speech, "We have serious concerns that Iran is deliberately attempting, at a minimum, to preserve a nuclear weapons option." He charged that Iran's continuing enrichment activity, in defiance of three U.N. Security Council resolutions, "moves Iran closer to a dangerous and destabilizing possible breakout capacity."

Samareh Hashemi charged in reply that the United States is allowing its position on the issue to be dictated by Israel. "These are not the words of the Americans," he said. "This is the Israelis speaking. It's better that the Americans give their own opinion."

"Iran not only does not want to make nuclear weapons, but is actually intensely against nuclear weapons," said the aide, who managed Ahmadinejad's reelection campaign and has held key positions in the Iranian Foreign and Interior ministries. "In all truth, Iran is trying to establish a new regime to prevent nuclear weapons worldwide." He said the threat from nuclear weapons today comes from the countries that possess them, not from Iran.

Asked whether Iran's proposal contains any mention of suspending its uranium enrichment program, Samareh Hashemi said that "methods of preventing development of nuclear weapons and a widespread system for preventing . . . the proliferation of nuclear weapons are a part of the package."

He added: "Since nuclear weapons are an international threat, with the cooperation of all countries we can design an international framework that, basically, prevents research, production, multiplying and keeping nuclear weapons and also moves toward destruction of present nuclear weapons. Iran is ready in this path to offer any and every kind of cooperation and effort. No country must be exempt from this international framework against nuclear weapons. "

Iran maintains that its archenemy, Israel, possesses nuclear weapons, and it has often accused the West of having a double standard regarding Israel's nuclear arsenal.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said it has no conclusive evidence that Iran is trying to militarize its nuclear program, which Iran says is meant solely to generate electricity. But on Wednesday the agency said it was in a "logjam" with Iran and that there were still outstanding questions over the nature of its atomic program.

With the new package it is proposing, Iran wants to remove those doubts by establishing a broad international system that would force not only Iran but countries that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, such as Israel, India and Pakistan, to be completely open about their nuclear intentions, Samareh Hashemi explained.

Giving up uranium enrichment, a key demand by the P5-plus-one group, is not necessary for Iran, he said. He argued that Iran's nuclear activities are within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and abide by agreements and contracts made with the International Atomic Energy Agency. He said that signatories of the treaty, such as Iran, are entitled to enrich uranium. "It is very obvious that legal and lawful activities are the right of every nation," Samareh Hashemi said.

It is Western countries that should change their ways, he said. "In fact, they divide the world into two groups: first-degree and second-degree humans," he said.

Samareh Hashemi, who often goes on foreign missions for Ahmadinejad, announced an Iranian diplomatic offensive to reform the world's power structures, which he said are promoting " injustice."

He called for the structure of the U.N. Security Council, with its "veto privilege for the permanent members," to be changed to reflect what he described as new realities in the world.

The United States and other Western nations "are too irresponsible to run the world," Samareh Hashemi said. "Naturally, everything needs to be changed."

Staff writer Glenn Kessler in Washington and special correspondent Kay Armin Serjoie in Tehran contributed to this report.

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