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UN chief voices grave concern about Iran's continued uranium enrichment

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday voiced his "grave concern" about Iran's continued uranium enrichment when meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the UN chief's spokersperson said.

Ban also reiterated his call on Iran to fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions and fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) towards "resolving all outstanding concerns related to its nuclear program," the spokersperson said in a statement.

Ban met with Ahmadinejad yesterday evening and they "discussed a number of critical issues concerning Iran and the international community," the statement said.

"The secretary-general expressed his grave concern about its activities related to continued uranium enrichment as demonstrated by the construction of a new uranium enrichment facility in the country," the statement said. "He emphasized that the burden of proof is on Iran."

"The secretary-general reiterated his call on Iran to fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions as well as fully cooperate with the IAEA towards resolving all outstanding concerns related to its nuclear program."

"In this regard, he noted the recent proposals put forward by Iran and urged it to engage in constructive negotiations as promptly as possible," the statement said.

The UN chief also "expressed his continuing concern about the human rights situation in Iran, with respect to freedom of association, assembly and practice of religion."

He urged Tehran to "uphold due process and transparency in the trials and treatment of post-election and other detainees" and to receive UN Special Rapporteurs in conformity with the standing invitation issued by the Iranian authorities.

"The secretary-general reiterated his strong rejection of the president's repeated denials of the Holocaust," the statement said.

The five permanent UN Security Council member nations and Germany are set to meet with Iran next week in talks that will almost certainly address the Middle Eastern state's uranium enrichment program.

The United States and other Western powers suspect the program is aimed at producing nuclear-weapon material, but Tehran contends that the program has no military component and has steadfastly rejected calls to halt the effort.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his nation could make its nuclear scientists available to answer questions from their counterparts from other nations in an effort to build trust in Tehran's peaceful nuclear intentions, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.


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