CAIRO: Egypt said Friday that Iran wants a diplomatic solution to the standoff with the international community over its nuclear program, but also insists on its right to peaceful nuclear technology.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit about next week s report to the U.N. Security Council on Iran s nuclear program, Egypt said on Friday. Egypt and Iran have not had relations for more than 25 years and high-level contacts between the two governments are rare, usually limited to international meetings. The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement that Abul-Gheit received the call on Thursday evening and the two ministers agreed to stay in touch for consultations, directly and through their countries missions in Geneva and New York. The Iranian minister dealt with the elements of the report which the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency will present next week on the Iranian nuclear file, it said. The Iranian official expressed Iran s willingness to continue discussions and diplomatic dialogue, while committing itself to the peaceful elements of its (nuclear) program, the statement added. Iran says the program is solely for generating electricity but the United States says it suspects that Iran s ultimate aim is to develop nuclear weapons. Egypt, which is one of 35 countries on the board of the U.N. s nuclear watchdog, says it is against any nuclear weapons in the Middle East but the dispute with Iran should be settled peacefully. Relations between Egypt and Iran were cut when Egypt gave refuge to the deposed Shah of Iran, who died in Egypt. Over the years the Egyptian government has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting underground Islamist groups. Agencies