Iran's president says his country is determined to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
On a three-day visit to Pakistan, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said today (Tuesday) that Tehran wants to finish construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran, despite strong criticism from the United States -- which claims the facility is part of an Iranian secret weapons program.
President Khatami said Iran would agree to send nuclear and uranium waste to other countries for reprocessing. He said he would not insist on treating it inside Iran because it could pose an environmental hazard.
The Iranian leader also struck out at Israel, saying the United States should press the Jewish state to reveal its nuclear energy programs -- which he termed a threat to international peace and security.
Earlier in the day (Tuesday), President Khatami met with Pakistan's newly-elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali. In remarks to reporters after their meeting, Mr. Jamali said he asked President Khatami to help Pakistan and India reach a peaceful solution to their dispute over Kashmir.
Monday, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said the Kashmir conflict should be solved on the basis of the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Mr. Khatami says his country's good relations with Islamabad and New Delhi will play an important role in defusing tensions between the nuclear rivals. During their meeting on Monday, the Iranian leader and General Musharraf discussed a proposed natural-gas pipeline that would run through Pakistan and into India. Mr. Khatami is scheduled to visit India next month to discuss the project.
(AFP, ap, prev) ## SA/mb/km