Monday, July 14, 2008

Ahmadinejad criticizes Velayati, former Iran's foreign minister

Tue, 15 Jul 2008 01:03:06 Press TV

Iran's President has criticized former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati over his remarks concerning the country's nuclear issue.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior foreign affairs advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said on July 2 that government officials responsible for the country's nuclear issue should avoid 'illogical and provocative sloganeering'.

Velayati, who served as Iran's foreign minister from 1981 to 1997, did not mention President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by name.

The heavyweight politician said Iran should continue negotiations over a package of economic and political incentives proposed by world powers aimed at pressuring Tehran into suspending its uranium enrichment. The former Iranian foreign minister had also said that Iran's adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitles the country to the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and that Tehran should not suspend its nuclear program.

Washington and its European allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program. Tehran insists its nuclear program is aimed at electricity generation in line with the NPT. The most recent UN nuclear watchdog report concluded that there is no link between the use of nuclear material and the 'alleged studies' of weaponization attributed to Iran by Western countries. "Velayati is a respected man. Like everyone else in Iran, he is free to express his personal views ... But he is not involved in nuclear decision-making," Mardomsalari newspaper quoted the Iranian president as saying. "Our nuclear path is clear. The government is responsible for the nuclear issue. We manage the issue based on the leader's views," Ahmadinejad added.
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