NIGERIA, IRAN BEGIN NUCLEAR TALKS
Nigeria and the Islamic Republic of Iran have begun talks on jointly developing nuclear capabilities for peaceful uses.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Idi Hong made this known to journalists on Friday.
He said although Nigeria and Iran were active members of the Non-Aligned Movement and signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the desire to explore the nuclear option for medical and energy purposes was mutual.
Hong spoke after a closed door meeting with an Iranian delegation led by the Deputy Foreign Minister (African Affairs), Mr. Soleman Pour, on Friday.
According to Hong, 'Nigeria is an early signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty we remain strongly committed to those protocols in the NPT treaty but we are still advocating very strongly the use of nuclear for peaceful purposes like energy and co.
'For that purpose; I think we will still continue to discuss on that issue because Nigeria is also exploring nuclear materials for medicine and also for energy generation.'
The Minister of State however expressed sadness that the volume of trade between Nigeria and Iran was below what was required.
This, he said, would also be addressed during ongoing bilateral talks adding that the Iranians came with a large delegation of business men for talks on how to develop mutually beneficial trade investments.
According to him, 'We are trying to see how to scale up that that is why we have an on going meeting they came with a very large delegation of members from the businesses community, the financial sector and other government agencies to see how we will scale up the economic relationship between our two countries.
'We are both members of OPEC. It is an opportunity for us to collaborate in the area of energy and power it is also an opportunity for us to scale up trade between Nigeria and Iran.
Earlier, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr. Soleyman Pour said his country and Nigeria were working closely on a number of bilateral and multilateral issues.
Pour said Nigeria and Iran had a lot to learn from each other in the area of culture and the development of the economy.