Iran Nuclear NewsLeader's aide chides Iran president's atom approach

Leader’s aide chides Iran president’s atom approach

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ImageReuters: A senior adviser to Iran's top authority said "provocative" speeches could damage the country's nuclear cause in its row with the West, a thinly veiled criticism of outspoken President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

By Parisa Hafezi

ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – A senior adviser to Iran's top authority said "provocative" speeches could damage the country's nuclear cause in its row with the West, a thinly veiled criticism of outspoken President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ali Akbar Velayati, reflecting rare public criticism from a politician so close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami that the government should tread more careful in its comments on nuclear issues.

"The government is responsible for the nuclear issue," Velayati said in remarks published on Tuesday. "Officials … should avoid illogical and provocative sloganeering."

Velayati, foreign affairs adviser to Khamenei, did not mention the president by name but it was a clear reference to Ahmadinejad.

Some of Ahmadinejad's staunchest opponents say his speeches on the nuclear issue have exacerbated Iran's isolation. But Khamenei, who has the last word on nuclear and foreign policy, has praised Ahmadinejad for his uncompromising nuclear views.

Iran is embroiled in a dispute over its nuclear programme. Western nations have led an effort to isolate Iran, resulting in three rounds of U.N. sanctions, because Tehran has refused to halt work they fear is aimed at making atomic bombs.

Iran says it will not halt work it insists has peaceful aims but has yet to give a formal response to a package of trade and other incentives offered by world powers for Tehran to stop.

"The P5+1 counts on every word of such speeches and slogans. We have to speak out with more care," Velayati said.

TALKS

Velayati, echoing other top Iranian officials, brushed off the impact of sanctions, even though analysts say the penalties are deterring investors and adding costs for Iranian businesses.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, is however benefiting from record oil earnings as crude prices have surged, which officials say is giving them a cushion of cash.

"We should use the time and continue our talks with the P5+1 and other European countries," Velayati said.

"America and Israel want to isolate Iran in the world by saying that Iran does not want to resolve the (nuclear) issue through talks," he added.

But he ruled out the P5+1's central demand that Iran halt uranium enrichment, the process that Tehran says it is mastering to make fuel for power plants but which Western capitals say will be used to make bomb material.

Speculation has mounted that Israel, whose demise is regularly predicted by Ahmadinejad, could attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Such talk was heightened by a U.S. newspaper report this month saying the Jewish state had practised such a strike.

Velayati said, even it went ahead, it would not stop Iran.

"Our technology is native and it cannot be eliminated … nothing can destroy our technology because it is inside our scientists' brains," he said.

Iran has repeatedly said Israel was not in a position to attack the Islamic Republic over its nuclear programme and has warned Israel over the consequences of such an attack.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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