Iran Praises Indonesia for ‘Nuclear Support’

TEHRAN ~ President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono held talks with Iranian leaders in Tehran this week, winning lavish praise for Jakarta’s refusal to support the latest UN sanctions against Iran.

“The position of the Indonesian government is the legal and fair position and I hope it will be a start of a movement to correct international structures,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the visiting president on Tuesday.

Indonesia, which holds one of the rotating seats on the UN Security Council, was the only member not to vote for the latest resolution on the Iranian nuclear program, on March 3.

Indonesia abstained, but Libya, South Africa and Vietnam, which had joined Indonesia in expressing reservations about the need for fresh sanctions, finally voted in favor.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described Indonesia’s move as “good and courageous” in his meeting with the president.

“Certainly such a decision will add to the credit of a nation and government,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by state television.

Resolution 1803 imposed a third set of sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to heed the council’s calls to suspend uranium enrichment and gives Iran another three months to suspend the process.

Iran insists its nuclear program is solely aimed at generating energy and it has every right to the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment.

Media said Iran and Indonesia also signed cooperation agreements in education, agriculture, refining and trade.

“I hope that with this visit that relations between the two countries will develop further. There is no obstacle in the way of Iran developing its cooperation with Indonesia,” said Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad himself visited Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, in May 2006 for talks with its leaders in Jakarta on the nuclear crisis and economic cooperation.

Iran has been assiduously courting the support of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) allies like Indonesia to counter the effects of increasingly frigid relations with Western countries.

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