AFP: Iran on Sunday told the West it would only hold talks over its disputed nuclear programme if world powers stopped threatening further punitive measures against Tehran. TEHRAN (AFP) Iran on Sunday told the West it would only hold talks over its disputed nuclear programme if world powers stopped threatening further punitive measures against Tehran.
“The time of using the policy of the carrot and the stick has ended,” Javad Vaeedi, a top national security official, said on the sidelines of a security conference in Tehran.
“If they (the West) want to have serious negotiations, in fair conditions and taking into account the interests of the two parties, they must first stop threatening.”
His comments came a week after the UN Security Council tightened sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to heed the world body’s calls to freeze uranium enrichment, a potential weapons-making process.
Following the sanctions resolution, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected any new talks with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana — who has represented world powers in past discussions on the nuclear crisis.
Ahmadinejad said Tehran would in future negotiate only with the UN atomic agency and would not sit down with anyone from outside the body, such as Solana, who has held two years of nuclear talks with Iran.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, speaking at a conference in Tehran, meanwhile refused to directly answer a question about whether Iran would continue talking to Solana.
“We are still supporters of negotiations that have a precise objective, a defined programme and are assured of providing us with results,” he said.
“We are ready to discuss any proposition in this framework, including the important questions of the world, different problems, notably that of occupation and the desire of certain countries to dominate others”.
The Security Council has repeatedly called on Iran to freeze uranium enrichment, which the West fears could be used to make nuclear weapons, but which Iran insists is only needed to make atomic fuel for power stations.