Iran says no suspension offer in EU talks, slams U.S. sanctions

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TEHRAN: Iran on Sunday denied it had made any offer to suspend uranium enrichment in talks between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and its top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini dismissed reports of a suspension of uranium enrichment by us in the talks on the nuclear crisis as merely guesswork. There had been conflicting reports over whether Iran made an offer in the EU talks to suspend enrichment for a limited time, with some EU diplomats suggesting it had proposed a two-month suspension of the sensitive process. The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to have negotiations and dialogue in order to reach a just solution that ensures Iran s legitimate rights and (Iran) is patiently pursuing this, Hosseini added. The foreign ministry also warned its arch foe the United States, which is leading a drive to take the issue to the Security Council and has expressed fear Iran could be stalling, not to interfere in the process.

Iran on Sunday condemned as useless a new set of sanctions passed by the United States that target foreign countries which continue nuclear cooperation with Tehran and sell it advanced weaponry. It is a useless approach and serves the hostile purposes of the U.S. statesmen and therefore we condemn it, foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini was quoted as saying by state media. The passing of such laws has no consequences except damaging U.S. interests and increasing the isolation of the United States. Sanctions cannot weaken the will of Iran, he added. Some parties haste to use illogical means, push the nuclear dossier along the path of bullying, employ useless expressions about buying time or setting an unreal deadline is contrary to the current trend, the spokesman said. Larijani and Solana failed to reach an agreement at their latest talks last week in Berlin but Hosseini described the process as constructive and expressed hope the trend would continue. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who the day earlier had ruled out even offering a short term suspension of uranium enrichment, on Sunday again insisted the Islamic republic would not renounce its nuclear rights. Iran insists on exercising its peaceful right to nuclear energy in line with international agreements, he said according to state television. The main stumbling block in talks with the European Union has been EU and US demands that Iran suspend enrichment, a process that can be used to make both nuclear fuel and the explosive core of a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful energy needs, vehemently rejecting U.S. allegations it is seeking to manufacture nuclear weapons. Tehran now faces a new deadline from world powers of early October for it to halt enriching uranium, diplomats said.

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