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Iranian President Criticizes IAEA

12 July 2004 -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami accused the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of practicing double standards today and said it should pay closer attention to countries that have not signed global nonproliferation agreements.

During a meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Khatami said nuclear weapons have "no place" in Iran's defense doctrine and that he is campaigning for a Middle East free of nuclear arms.

Khatami said the world should be concerned about atomic programs in countries that are not members of the IAEA. That remark was interpreted as meaning Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons.

In a related story, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani, today ruled out direct talks with the U.S. on Iran's nuclear program.

The U.S. has voiced suspicions about Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran claims is for civilian power use only.