Press TV - Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has told Newsweek that US participation in July's nuclear talks in Geneva was a "realistic step".
"We welcomed the participation by Mr. [William] Burns in the Geneva talks. We feel that if this is the real approach taken by the U.S. right now vis-à-vis the nuclear issue, they must continue with such efforts," Mottaki was quoted as saying in the interview published on Sunday.
"Previously, the US administration attached certain provisos to their presence in the talks. [Burns's] presence in Geneva meant that those were no longer in play. An effort has started and if it is to succeed in resolving the nuclear issue, we have to take it to the next step," he added.
Representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany held a meeting in Geneva on July 19 to review a proposed package of incentives to Tehran. The package obliged Iran to stop its enrichment activities in return for political and economic benefits.
Mottaki dismissed UN Security Council resolutions against Iran over its nuclear activities, saying the Islamic Republic has every right to continue its enrichment activities.
"What we are doing is completely legal.... For us to arrive at a mutual confidence, we need to negotiate," Mottaki said.
Under US pressure, the UN Security Council has passed four anti-Iran resolutions, demanding that Iran halt its enrichment program.
Asked why Iran has failed to report necessary information about things it has been asked for, Mottaki replied that the agency had been manipulated by the US.
"Last year we responded to all the questions that were given to us by the agency. Later, it became quite clear that the questions were given to the agency by the Americans. After we were through with one set of questions, the Americans came back with new claims that they gave the agency to look into."
The IAEA's recent report on Iran's nuclear activities had found no 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear physics studies' in the country.
Mottaki advised the Bush administration to make fundamental changes in its Middle East policies.
"in six years in Iraq and seven years in Afghanistan, [the United States] has failed to materialize [its] goals. Therefore, [it] needs to fundamentally change such policies."
"We are saying that the American administration needs to take a correct set of decisions, and one of those decisions has to do with [setting] a timetable for pulling out the troops."
... Payvand News - 10/06/08 ... --