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Iranian official says door still open to nuclear talks with US

Tehran, Sept 19, IRNA -- Iran's marksman on nuclear issues, Hassan Rowhani, announced here Sunday that Tehran has not shut the door yet to nuclear talks with the United States.

Speaking to reporters a day after the world nuclear watchdog set a deadline for Tehran to freeze its activities related to the uranium enrichment, the official clarified that Washington has yet to show its good will first and drop its 'bullying' tactics.

"We have already held negotiations with the Americans on various issues such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the presence of the United Nations and such negotiations on (Iran's) nuclear file is not totally out of question," Rowhani said.

"If America drops its position of threats and asks for negotiations there will be room for consideration, but when they use their bullying approach, they spoil their own work.

"Perhaps, when the three European countries announced their readiness for negotiations concerning Iran's nuclear file, if the Americans had made similar announcement, we would have entered into negotiations with them," the official added.

Tehran and Washington have held no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and while Iran says its nuclear program is aimed at power generation, the United States accuses the country of secretly trying to build an atomic bomb.

US delegates to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna had been demanding to set an October 31 ultimatum for Tehran to fully suspend uranium enrichment and consequently report Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

But they were opposed by their European peers, finally compromising on a resolution, which was adopted by members of the IAEA board of governors through consensus Saturday, demanding Iran freeze all activities related to uranium enrichment.

Iran's Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rowhani, said Sunday that 'America, despite making all efforts to have Iran's nuclear file referred to the UN Security Council, did not achieve any of its goals'.

The resolution was drafted by Britain, France and Germany Friday, setting a November 25 deadline for a full review of Iran's nuclear program and calling on Tehran to 'immediately' suspend all uranium enrichment activities.

The non-aligned nations had challenged the draft resolution for taking Iran to task for uranium enrichment, which is allowed under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Iran dismissed the resolution, saying the country does no accept any obligation in the suspension of uranium enrichment.

In a decision to prove its good faith, Tehran has voluntarily suspended uranium enrichment and manufacture of centrifuge components.

Moreover, the Islamic Republic has signed an additional protocol to the NPT, allowing snap inspections of its nuclear activities.

Rowhani, who is Tehran's marksman on nuclear issues, said that "any resolution which seek to bind us to suspension (of uranium enrichment) is unacceptable and we will not accept such an obligation."

The official stressed that Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment had been voluntary, aiming to show the country's good faith and any headway in this regard would come only through negotiations.

"The Islamic Republic has never accepted the suspension under a resolution, thus the country cannot be obliged on that and Iran can only be asked through negotiations to (continue) the suspension," he said here during a news conference.

... Payvand News - 9/19/04 ... --

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