Iran Nuclear NewsIran Says Does Not Want U.S. to Join Nuclear...

Iran Says Does Not Want U.S. to Join Nuclear Talks

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Reuters: Iran said on Thursday it did not want the United States to become more involved in negotiations Tehran is holding
with the European Union over its nuclear program. European leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder, urged President Bush this week to join the EU approach of offering incentives to Iran in return for scrapping some atomic work. Reuters

TEHRAN – Iran said on Thursday it did not want the United States to become more involved in negotiations Tehran is holding with the European Union over its nuclear program.

European leaders, including French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder, urged President Bush this week to join the EU approach of offering incentives to Iran in return for scrapping some atomic work.

Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley, said on Wednesday Bush would consider the use of incentives such as the membership of the World Trade Organization and the sale of civilian aircraft to Iran, when he returns to Washington.

But Iran, which strongly denies U.S. accusations it is secretly building nuclear arms, said it did not want Washington to join the nuclear talks with Britain, France and Germany.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran does not see any reason why the United States should join the negotiations between the three European countries and Iran on its nuclear program,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

“America’s strategy is clear and it revolves around Israel. If America joins these negotiations they wouldn’t make it any better, more like it would be worse,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Asefi as saying.

“I hope the European countries continue to act independently in the negotiations,” he added.

European diplomats privately acknowledge that talks with Iran are unlikely to succeed unless Washington throws its full weight behind them since many of the possible incentives for Iran would need U.S. backing.

Iran has frozen uranium enrichment, which can be used to make bomb-grade fuel, while the EU talks go on.

But it has said it will review the freeze in mid-March and refuses to contemplate scrapping enrichment for good as the EU and Washington want.

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