No talks on limiting nuclear program, Iran says
Tehran insists it won’t discuss ‘basic rights’
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s president said yesterday that his country wants to discuss cooperation to resolve global issues and to promote peace and security at nuclear talks with world powers, but that it will not talk about what it insists is its right to continue nuclear activities.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke a day after Iran offered to resume nuclear talks this month with six nations: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany. The talks collapsed last year, and Ahmadinejad’s comments raise further questions about whether Iran is willing to reopen the dialogue on its nuclear program.
The United States and its allies suspect Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing weapons. Iran denies that, saying it wants only to generate power.
Ahmadinejad’s remarks were among the many conflicting and ambiguous messages from Iran over the years about its willingness to enter into nuclear negotiations.
It has also sent counterproposals and used delaying tactics that have brought talks to an impasse.
Addressing a group of people in Qazvin, in northern Iran, Ahmadinejad said Tehran is ready to discuss “global challenges’’ and help global peace based on mutual respect but won’t discuss its right to continue nuclear activities.
“We’ve said repeatedly that the Iranian nation will never discuss its basic rights with anybody,’’ Ahmadinejad said.
Adding to the uncertainty of Iran’s offer, different officials suggested different dates: Nov. 15 or 23, or Dec. 5. Iran wants the talks to take place in Istanbul, where it would have its Turkish allies on the sidelines.
Iran says it has a nonnegotiable right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for producing nuclear fuel.
The international community has sought to persuade Iran to give up enrichment because the technology also offers a potential pathway to weapons development.
“The Iranian nation will welcome any hand extended to it with honesty but will cut the hand if it is with deception and conspiracy,’’ Ahmadinejad said, prompting chants of, “Death to the US,’’ from the crowd.
Addressing the six nations, Ahmadinejad said, “If some of you have the mentality of selfishness and arrogance, the response of the Iranian nation will be the same it has given until today and will disappoint you from the continuation of your life.’’