AFP: Iran has adopted a tough and uncompromising stance ahead of new nuclear talks with world powers, whom the Islamic republic has blamed for deadly attacks on senior scientists in its atomic programme.
By Laurent Maillard
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran has adopted a tough and uncompromising stance ahead of new nuclear talks with world powers, whom the Islamic republic has blamed for deadly attacks on senior scientists in its atomic programme.
Tehran singled out the US and Israeli intelligence services, the CIA and Mossad, for being behind bomb attacks that killed a prominent nuclear scientist and wounded another, insisting it was a warning from the West.
“These wicked people wanted to show their hideous side which demonstrates their carrot-and-stick policy in the run-up to the new nuclear talks” due to be held in Geneva next week, atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said.
After months of stalling, Iran will resume talks on December 6 and 7 with the so-called P5+1 grouping UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States with Germany.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has charged Security Council members were to blame for the scientist’s murder by publishing the names of physicists involved in Iran’s nuclear programme in sanctions resolutions.
The name of the scientist who was wounded in Monday’s attacks appeared in a UN sanctions resolution, which “gives tip-offs to the… Zionist killers,” the hardline leader said.
Chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, who will to represent Iran in the Geneva talks, also blasted what he said was a “scandal for the UN Security Council, whose resolutions are executed by terrorists.”
The Security Council has called on Iran in six resolutions — four of which impose sanctions — to halt its controversial atomic work as part of the international community suspects Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons capability.
Tehran denies the charge, insisting its nuclear programme is solely aimed at peaceful ends and energy production.
Western powers “have used all the capabilities at their disposal, like passing resolutions, imposing sanctions and piling on political pressure but they did not gain anything,” Jalili said.
“They have (now) resorted to assassination, which shows their desperation and the dead end they have reached,” said the negotiator.
World powers have not reacted to Iranian accusations and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ignored the allegation on Wednesday, instead focusing on the “encouraging” fact Iran is returning to the negotiating table.
However, “the attacks will not make things easy for the Geneva talks, which look complicated already from the beginning,” a Tehran-based European diplomat said.
It took Iran and the P5+1 grouping one month to agree on a date and venue for the talks, but the two sides have yet to agree on an agenda.
The world powers want the talks to focus on Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, but Tehran wants a wider discussion that includes regional security issues and archfoe Israel’s alleged possession of nuclear arms.
To make things more complicated, Ahmadinejad repeated after Monday’s attacks that uranium enrichment, which is the main issue of concern over Iran’s nuclear activities, was “non-negotiable” and that pressure “will not bear any results.”
And Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Wednesday that Iran’s participation in the Geneva talks “does not mean that we will make concessions or retreat from our principled position.”
Salehi also said Iran “will speed up the nuclear work” in response to the attacks.