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Iran Min Says Block On WTO Membership Is International Insult

02/15/2000 Dow Jones Commodities Service

BANGKOK (AP)-- Iran 's commerce minister attacked Tuesday "political matters" that have prevented his country from joining the World Trade Organization.

In a clear reference to opposition from the U.S., Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari said the fact that his country hadn't even been approved as a candidate for WTO membership was "an insult to the international community."

"We have arrived at the definite conclusion that political matters are influencing the prevention of the accession of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the WTO," Shariatmadari said at a news conference during the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, which runs until Saturday.

The U.S. claims Iran is a terrorist nation and maintains trade sanctions against it, even though they officially have normal trade ties. Other Western countries now trade normally with Iran , which is a major oil producer.

Washington has blocked attempts by Iran to begin the process toward joining the WTO, which sets rules for international trade among its 135 members. Some 30 nations are official candidates for membership.

"If concepts such as the non-politicization of trade are considered to be among the principal concepts of an international organization, and in the WTO such things shouldn't be observed, then it is a matter of regret," Shariatmadari said.

He told reporters there should be a "mother organization" for the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, and that Iran believes Unctad was the right body.

In another reference to the U.S., Shariatmadari added: "Some superpowers try to make their domestic laws extraterritorial using embargoes and the like against other countries, especially developing countries. This sort of flouting of laws could create anarchy in the world


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