September 10, 2009 / 8:46 PM / in 10 years

Iran wants global system to end nuclear arms-paper

* Iran refuses to discuss halting nuclear enrichment

* Offers collaboration on oil and gas projects (Adds details, paragraph 3)

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Iran has proposed a global system to eliminate nuclear weapons, as well as cooperation on Afghanistan and fighting terrorism, but will not discuss halting its uranium enrichment program, an Iranian official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

"Iran not only does not want to make nuclear weapons, but is actually intensely against nuclear weapons," Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, who ran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election campaign and has held key positions at Iran’s foreign and interior ministries, told the Washington Post.

Iran also offers cooperation in solving problems in Afghanistan and fighting terrorism, he said, as well as collaboration on oil and gas projects.

He said that countries like Iran that had signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were entitled to enrich uranium — technology that can produce fuel for bombs or power plants.

"It is very obvious that legal and lawful activities are the right of every nation," Samareh Hashemi said.

He said "Iran is trying to establish a new regime to prevent nuclear weapons worldwide," adding that the threat from atomic weapons came from states that had them, not the Islamic Republic.

Western countries suspect Tehran is developing atomic weapons under cover of a civilian energy program. Iran has rejected U.N. Security Council demands that it halt its enrichment program, which it says will produce fuel for nuclear power plants, not bombs.

Asked whether Iran’s proposal mentioned suspending its uranium enrichment program, Samareh Hashemi said that "methods of preventing development of nuclear weapons and a widespread system for preventing ... the proliferation of nuclear weapons are a part of the package."

He said Iran was proposing a system that "prevents research, production, multiplying and keeping nuclear weapons and also moves toward destruction of present nuclear weapons."

"Iran is ready in this path to offer any and every kind of cooperation and effort," he said. "No country must be exempt from this international framework against nuclear weapons."

Samareh Hashemi provided no details of the Iranian plan. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Arshad Mohammed; editing by Alison Williams)

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