Sun Mar 3, 2013 6:52AM
Mohammad Khazaei, Iran’s UN envoy

Mohammad Khazaei, Iran’s UN envoy

Threatening Iran is not going to work.” Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaei has scoffed at threats against the country, stressing that threatening Iran will not help the negotiations which mainly concern Tehran’s nuclear energy program. “Threatening Iran is not going to work,” Khazaei said in an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program. On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi expressed confidence that the issues concerning Iran’s nuclear energy program would be ironed out. Salehi pointed to Iran’s comprehensive negotiations with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), saying, “The two sides feel that the grounds have been prepared to take a path out of the issue.” Iran and the P5+1 - Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany - held their latest round of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on February 26 and 27. Both sides agreed to convene in Almaty again on April 5-6 for the next round of negotiations after holding expert-level talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul on March 17-18. Khazaei further said Washington must show its sincerity for Iran to consider its offer of direct talks, adding that any “pressure” to drive Iran to the negotiating table would backfire. “The clear message of Iran is that if we see that the United States is serious and honest about its proposal for negotiations, cooperation and direct talks with Iran, Iranians will accept it and will definitely welcome it,” the envoy stated. “There is no doubt about it … Iran welcomes negotiations and direct talks with the United States, provided that we make sure that the US is serious and do not act differently,” he added. Khazaei criticized the US dual policies on Iran, saying, “My point is, as soon as you say, we are ready to talk to you and work with you, but at the same time, we punish you and put pressure on you and your people -- Iranians cannot accept that.” At the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany on February 2, US Vice President Joe Biden said Washington was ready to hold direct talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program. However, he noted, “There will be continued pressure.” On February 6, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei rejected talks with the United States under pressure and threats. “An offer of talks makes sense only when the side [that makes the offer] shows its goodwill,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. The US has spearheaded several rounds of sanctions against Iran in recent years, based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program. Washington has also repeatedly threatened Iran with keeping “all options on the table.” Tehran says as a committed signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. SF/HMV/MA
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