Sunday, May 14, 2006

Afghanistan offers to mediate in Iran nuclear row

Afghanistan has offered to mediate between Washington and Tehran in the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta was quoted on Sunday as saying.

Spanta added that he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai planned to travel to Tehran at the end of May to assess the "room for manoeuvre" for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. READ MORE

Iran, which in April said it had enriched uranium suitable for use in power stations, is under pressure from the United Nations, and in particular the United States and its European allies, to halt its atomic programme or risk sanctions.

"I will gladly mediate between the United States and Iran if desired," Spanta told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

"Afghanistan is a friend of both these countries and neither Iran nor the United States has attempted to use our country as a tool in this conflict," he added.

The United States and its western allies suspect Iran's declared civilian nuclear programme is a smokescreen for building atomic weapons. Iran denies this, saying it wants nuclear power to generate electricity.