Iran Nuclear NewsIran rejects Annan's call for direct talks with U.S.

Iran rejects Annan’s call for direct talks with U.S.

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Bloomberg: Iran, which has the world’s second- largest oil and natural gas reserves, rejected a call by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the U.S. to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic about its nuclear program. May 7 (Bloomberg) — Iran, which has the world’s second- largest oil and natural gas reserves, rejected a call by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the U.S. to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic about its nuclear program.

“The U.S. isn’t prepared to have talks on a one-to-one equal basis,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a press conference in Tehran today, broadcast on state television. “They are following the politics of threat. So under these conditions we see no necessity to start talks with them.”

Annan on May 5 said Iran might be more willing to negotiate in direct talks with the U.S. The U.K. and France, backed by the U.S., proposed a resolution to the UN Security Council on May 3 demanding Iran cease uranium enrichment, and said they would seek sanctions should the government in Tehran fail to comply.

Iran won’t accept a resolution that fails to recognize its right to a peaceful nuclear program, Asefi said today. Should the Security Council adopt the proposed resolution it would decrease Iran’s willingness to cooperate, he said. The U.S. suspects Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at building weapons.

Suspension of Iran’s nuclear activities is “definitely not on Iran’s agenda,” Asefi said.

Iran reiterated it may quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if it faces further international pressure to abandon its nuclear program.

“If the signature of an international treaty threatens the rights of a nation, it will be of no value for that nation,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state television earlier today.

The Security Council meets tomorrow to negotiate changes to the draft proposal, which may be put to a vote this week, Agence France-Presse reported May 6.

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