US stance on nuclear programme counterproductive: IranJuly 31st, 2008 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS
Tehran, July 31 (RIA Novosti) Iran Thursday said the US stance on Tehran’s nuclear programme was counterproductive and would only harm the constructive dialogue between the country and the West. On Wednesday, the US State Department issued a statement saying that Iran had until Saturday’s deadline to respond to a package of incentives that require the country to suspend its uranium enrichment or it would face “diplomatic consequences”.
Responding to the US remarks, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, Iran’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the US threats would only complicate the international dialogue over the nuclear issue.
“The statements made by US officials that Iran must suspend its uranium enrichment programme do not deserve any attention and only harm the constructive atmosphere, reached during the talks (in Geneva),” Soltaniyeh said in an interview with Iran’s Press TV.
“We believe that rather than making these statements they should seek ways for continued constructive dialogue on a peaceful resolution of the problems,” Soltaniyeh said.
The July 19 talks in Geneva between Iranian security council chief Saeed Jalili and envoys from the group of six world powers - China, France, Russia, the US, Britain and Germany - ended in a stalemate, as Iran said it would not discuss a demand to halt its uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is geared towards weapons production.
On June 14, the European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana handed Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki a package of new incentives to Iran. The proposals offer political, security and trade benefits to Iran in exchange for suspending its nuclear programme.
Iran has not yet provided a clear response to the new incentives but reaffirmed its determination to continue uranium enrichment despite Western demands.
Iran is currently under three sets of relatively mild UN Security Council sanctions for defying demands to halt uranium enrichment, which it says it needs purely for electricity generation.
Despite Western accusations, Iran maintains it has never been involved in research into the development of nuclear weapons.