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Iran-U.S. talks not a taboo: envoy

TEHRAN, Feb. 17 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran's Ambassador to Paris Ali Ahani has said that holding talks between Iran and the United States should not be considered as a "taboo." However, he said holding talks depends on the U.S. behavior.

"In Iranian public opinion, there is great distrust of the U.S.," Ahani told the France 24 satellite TV news network in a recent interview.

Stance toward Israel

He said Iran's stance toward the Zionist regime is clear.

"It (Iran) does not want to attack Israel", Ahani said, adding that harsh criticism of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's statements about Israel is not acceptable.

What Ahmadinejad means is that Israel has adopted a racist policy and abused the rights of the Palestinians and this policy will eventually lead to its collapse, the envoy explained.

"He has never threatened Israel."


Iran is accustomed to economic sanctions and is not too concerned about it, he said.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on December 23 imposing sanctions on Iran's trade in nuclear material and technology.

The ambassador said past experiences have proven that imposing sanctions can not resolve such a sensitive and complicated dossier.

Ahani voiced hope that the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West to be settled through negotiations.

U.S. not serious for talks: Hosseini

TEHRAN, Feb. 18 (Mehr News Agency) -- Foreign Ministry spokesman said a suggestion by the U.S. Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice to hold talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki is not "serious".

"Preconditions have always been set for such talks and we have always said that it is unacceptable to us," Mohammad-Ali Hosseini told a regular news briefing.

No nuclear suspension

The spokesman stated that Iran is not going to suspend its uranium enrichment activities and the idea of suspension "is unjustified and unacceptable."

However, he noted that Iran is open to all suggested plans that would guarantee its nuclear right.

On the new Swiss proposal that calls for resuming talks under the condition that Iran halt feeding the centrifuges with processed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, the spokesman called on Switzerland to present the different aspects of its proposal in writing so that it can be studied.

Hosseini said at the Munich Conference Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani insisted that if the other side is prepared for negotiations a commitment by Iran that it will never enrich uranium above a 4 percent degree can be a good start.

He added that Larijani spoke to EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana in this regard and these talks will continue.

Larijani, who also acts as the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said on February 11 in a speech to the 43rd Munich Conference that Iran could accept a limit on its enrichment as a guarantee it was not seeking nuclear weapons.

... Payvand News - 2/18/07 ... --

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