Reuters: Iran’s president on Saturday told major powers considering United Nations sanctions they could “issue resolutions until you get tired”, making clear the country would press ahead with its disputed nuclear programme. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s president on Saturday told major powers considering United Nations sanctions they could “issue resolutions until you get tired”, making clear the country would press ahead with its disputed nuclear programme.
But amidst a deepening standoff between Tehran and the West, Iran’s foreign minister reportedly welcomed a Swiss proposal for talks on Tehran’s atomic ambitions, even though the country has repeatedly rejected demands it halt uranium enrichment.
The West suspects Iran of pursuing atomic weapons but Tehran says it wants only to generate electricity so it can export more of its oil and gas. Two sets of U.N. sanctions have been imposed since December and major powers this week warned a third may be needed if Tehran does not halt its activities.
“They want to stop (Iran’s atomic plans) with continuous resolutions,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech to university students in the southeastern province of Kerman.
“I tell them: issue resolutions until you get tired,” he said according to the ISNA news agency.
Analysts say the measures, including arms and financial sanctions, are hurting business and deterring foreign investment in the Islamic state, which despite its oil wealth is struggling with inflation and unemployment.
Ahmadinejad, who critics accuse of isolating Iran with his anti-Western rhetoric, dismissed such concern and suggested Iran’s enemies had allies trying to undermine it from within.
“They have some people inside as well who are trying to weaken what we say and violate the market with their money so that they will be able to say these resolutions have negative impacts, while it is not true,” he said.
Iranian officials have repeatedly ruled out suspending work to enrich uranium, which can be used to fuel nuclear power plants or make atom bombs if refined further.
Western diplomats say Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator told European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana last month Tehran had no intention of fully suspending such activities.
Despite that, they say Iran is considering a Swiss proposal for a staged plan leading to a simultaneous suspension of uranium enrichment and of U.N. sanctions, which would enable talks between Iran and six world powers to begin.
An Iranian daily said on Saturday Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had welcomed Berne’s proposal “for continued talks on Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme” when he met a Swiss envoy on the sidelines of this week’s meeting in Egypt on Iraq.
But the English-language Tehran Times did not give details on Mottaki’s views about the plan or any indication that Iran might be willing to compromise.